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Napoleon Bonaparte 



"How, Gbnbbal ? "--"Abb you not mt Sbcrbtaby?" 


to M. de Hôfer at Hamburg. I do not know whether it has 
been accepted, for M. Bourrienne still exercises an authority 
so severe over these journals that they are always submitted to 
him before they appear, that he may erase or alter the articles 
which do not please him." 

His position at Hamburg gave him great opportunities for 
both financial and political intrigues. In his Memoirs, as 
Meneval remarks, he or his editor is not ashamed to boast of 
being thanked by Louis XYIII. at St. Ouen for services ren- 
dered while he was the minister of Napoleon at Hamburg. He 
was recalled in 1810, when the Hanse towns were united, or, to 
use the phrase of the day, re-united to the Empire. He then 
hung about Paris, keeping on good terms with some of the 
ministers — Savary, not the most reputable of them, for ex- 
ample. In 1814 he was to be found at the office of Lavallette, 
the head of the posts, disguising, his enemies said, his delight 
at the bad news which was pouring in, by exaggerated expres- 
sions of devotion. He is accused of a close and suspicious 
connection with Talleyrand, and it is odd that when Talleyrand 
became head of the Provisional Government in 1814, Bour- 
rienne of all persons should have been put at the head of the 
posts. Received in the most flattering manner by Louis XVIII. , 
he was as astonished as poor Beugnot was in 1815, to find him- 
self on 13th May suddenly ejected from office, having, however, 
had time to furnish post-horses to Maubreuil for the mysteri- 
ous expedition, said to have been at least known to Talleyrand, 
and intended certainly for the robbery of the Queen of West- 
phalia, and probably for the murder of Napoleon. 

In the extraordinary scurry before the Bourbons scuttled 
out of Paris in 1814, Bourrienne was made Préfet of the Police 
for a few days, his tenure of that post being signalised by the 
abortive attempt to arrest Fouch<5, the only eftect of which 
was to drive that wily minister into the arms of the Bonaparte 

He fled with tho Eling, and was exempted from the amnesty 


proclaimed by Napoleon. On the return from Ghent he wag 
made a Minister of State without portfolio, and also became 
one of the Council. The ruin of his finances drove him out of 
France, but he eventually died in a madhouse at Caen. 

When the Memoirs fii'st appeared in 1829 they made a great 
sensation. Till then in most writings Napoleon had been 
treated as either a demon or as a demi-god. The real facts of 
the case were not suited to the tastes of either his enemies or 
his admirers. While the monarchs of Europe had been dis- 
puting among themselves about the division of the spoils to 
be obtained from France and from the unsettlement of the Con- 
tinent, there had arisen an extraordinarily clever and unscru- 
pulous man who, by alternately bribing and overthrowing the 
great monarchies, had soon made himself master of the main- 
land. His admirers were unwilling to admit the part played 
in his success by the jealousy of his foes of each other's share 
in the booty, and they delighted to invest him with every 
great quality which man could possess. His enemies were 
ready enough to allow his militaiy talents, but they wished to 
attribute the first success of his not very deep policy to a mar- 
vellous duplicity, apparently considered by them the more 
wicked as possessed by a parvenu emperor, and faT removed, 
in a moral point of view, from the statecraft so allowable in an 
ancient monarchy. But for Napoleon himself and his family 
and Court there was literally no limit to the really marvellous 
inventions of his enemies. He might enter every capital on 
the Continent, but there was some consolation in believing 
that he himself was a monster of wickedness, and his Court 
but the scene of one long protracted orgie. 

There was enough against the Emperor in the Memoirs to 
make them comfortable reading for his opponents, though 
veiy many of the old calumnies were disposed of in them. 
They contained indeed the nearest approximation to the 
truth which had yet appeared. Mettemich, who must have 
been a good judge, as no man was better acquainted with what 














Weto anî» îacbîseli HïJîtîon 


VOL. 1 



* ^^ 



In introducing the present edition of M. de Bonrrienne's 
Memoirs to the public we are bound, as Editors, to say a few 
words on the subject. Agreeing, however, with Horace Wal- 
pole, that an editor should not dwell for any length of time on 
the merits of his author, we shall touch but lightly on this 
part of the matter. "We are the more ready to abstain sine© 
the great success in England of the former editions of these 
Memoirs, and the high reputation they have acquired on the 
European Continent, and in every part of the civilised world 
where the fame of Bonaparte has ever reached, suflSciently 
establish the merits of M. de Bourrienne as a biographer. 
Tnese merits seem to us to consist chiefly in an anxious desire 
to be imi)artial, to point out the defects as well as the merits 
of a most wonderful man ; and in a peculiarly graphic power 
of relating facts and anecdotes. With this happy faculty 
Bourrienne would have made the life of almost any active 
individual interesting ; but the subject of which the most fa- 
vourable circumstances permitted him to treat was full o\. 
events and of the most extraordinary facts. The hero of his 
history was such a being as the world has produced only on 
the rarest occasions, and the complete counterpart to whom 
has, probably, never existed ; for there are broad shades of 
difference between Napoleon and Alexander, Cœsar, and 
Charlemagne ; neither will modem history furnish more exact 
parallels, since Gustavus Adolplius, Frederick the Groat, 
Cromwell, Washington, or Bolivar boar but a small rosem- 


blance to Bonaparte either in character, fortune, or extent of 
enterprise. For fourteen years, to say nothing of his projects 
in the East, the history of Bonaparte was the history of all 
Europe ! 

"With the copious materials he possessed, M. de Bourrienne 
has produced a work which, for deep interest, excitement, and 
amusement, can scarcely be paralleled by any of the numer- 
ous and excellent memoirs for which the literature of Franco 
is so justly celebrated. 

M. de Bourrienne shows us the hero of Marengo and Aus- 
terlitz in his night-gown and slippers — with a tnût de plume 
he, in a hundred instances, places the real man before us, with 
all his personal habits and peculiarities of manner, temper, 
and conversation. 

The friendship between Bonaparte and Bourrienne began in 
boyhood, at the school of Brienne, and their unreserved inti- 
macy continued during the most brilliant part of Napoleon's 
career. We have said enough, — the motives for his writing 
this work and his competency for the task will be best ex- 
plained in M. de Bourrienne's own words, which the reader 
will find in the Introductory Chapter. 

M. de Bourrienne says little of Napoleon after his first abdi- 
cation and retirement to Elba in 1814: : we have endeavoured 
to fill up the chasm thus left by following his hero through 
the remaining seven years of his life, to the *'last scenes of 
all " that ended his ** strange, eventful history," — to his death- 
bed and alien grave at St. Helena. A completeness will thus 
be given to the work which it did not before possess, and 
which we hope will, with the other additions and improve- 
ments already alluded to, tend to give it a place in every W(^ll- 
selected library, aa one of the most satisfactory of all the lives 
of Napoleon. 
London, 1836. 



The Memoirs of the time of Napoleon may be divided into 
two classes — those by marshals and officers, of which Suchet's 
is a good example, chiefly devoted to military movements, and 
those by persons employed in the administration and in the 
Court, giving ns not only materials for histoiy, but also valu- 
able details of the personal and inner life of the great Em- 
peror and of his immediate surroundings. Of this latter class 
the Memoirs of Bourrienne are among the most important. 

Long the intimate and personal friend of Napoleon both 
at school and from the end of the Italian campaigns in 1797 
till 1802 — working in the same room with him, using the same 
i:)urse, the confidant of most of his schemes, and, as his sec- 
retary, having the largest part of all the official and private 
correspondence of the time passed through his hands, Bour- 
rienne occupied an invaluable position for storing and record- 
ing materials for history. The Memoirs of his successor, Me- 
neval, are more those of an esteemed private secretary ; yet, 
valuable and interesting as they are, they want the peculiarity 
of position which marks those of Bourrienne, who was a com- 
pound of secretary, minister, and friend. The accounts of 
such men as Miot do Melito, Rœdcror, etc., arc most valuable, 
but those writers were not in that close contact with Napoleon 
enjoyed by Bourrienne. Bourrionni^'s position was Hini])ly 
unique, and wo can only rognât that lie did not occupy it till 
i]u\ (înd of the ]'iini)iro. Thus it is nalunil that his Memoirs 
should have been largely used by historians, and to i)roporly 

vîii PREFACE. 

understand the history of the time, they must be read by all 
students. They are indeed full of interest for every one. 
But they also require to be read with great caution. When 
we meet with praise of Napoleon, we may generally believe 
it, for, as Thiers [Consulat, ii. 279) says, Bourrienne need 
be little suspected on this side, for although he owed every- 
thing to Napoleon, he has not seemed to remember it. But 
very often in passages in which blame is thrown on Napoleon, 
Boun-ienne speaks, partly with much of the natui'al bitterness 
of a former and discarded friend, and partly with the curious 
mixed feeling which even the brothers of Napoleon display in 
their Memoirs, pride in the wonderful abilities evinced by the 
man with whom he was allied, and jealousy at the way in 
which he was outshone by the man he had in youth regarded 
as inferior to himself. Sometimes also we may even suspect 
the praise. Thus when Bourrienne defends Napoleon for giv- 
ing, as he alleges, poison to the sick at Jaffa, a doubt arises 
whether his object was to really defend what to most Eng- 
lishmen of this day, with remembrances of the deeds and reso- 
lutions of the Indian Mutiny, will seem an act to be pardoned, 
if not approved ; or whether he was more anxious to fix the 
committal of the act on Napoleon at a time when public 
opinion loudly blamed it. The same may be said of his de- 
fence of the massacre of the prisoners of Jaffa. 

Louis Antoine Fauvelet de Bourrienne was born in 1769, 
that is, in the same year as Napoleon Bonaparte, and he 
was the friend and companion of the future Emperor at the 
military school of Brienne-le- Château till 1784, when Napoleon, 
one of the sixty pupils maintained at the expense of the State, 
was passed on to the Military School of Paris. The friends 
again met in 1792 and in 1795, when Napoleon was hanging 
about Paris, and when Bourrienne looked on the vague dreams 
of his old schoolmate as only so much folly. In 1796, as 
soon as Napoleon had assured his position at the head of the 
army of Italy, anxious as ever to surround himself with known 


faces, he sent for Bourrienne to be his secretary. Bourrienne 
had been appointed in 1792 as secretary of the Legation at 
Stuttgart, and had, probably wisely, disobeyed the orders 
given him to return, thus escaping the dangers of the Eevo- 
lution. He only came back to Paris in 1795, having thus 
become an emigre. He joined Napoleon in 1797, after the 
Austrians had been beaten out of Italy, and at once assumed 
the office of secretary which he held for so long. He had 
sufficient tact to forbear treating the haughty young General 
with any assumption of familiarity in public, and he waa 
indefatigable enough to please even the never-resting Napo- 
leon. Talent Boumenne had in abundance ; indeed he is 
careful to hint that at school if any one had been asked to 
predict greatness for any pupil, it was Bourrienne, not Napo- 
leon, who would have been fixed on as the future star. Ho 
went with his General to Egypt, and returned with him to 
France. "While Napoleon was making his formal entry into 
the Tuileries, Bourrienne was preparing the cabinet he was 
still to share with the Consul. In this cabinet — our cabinet, as 
he is careful to call it — he worked with the First Consul till 

During all this time the pair had lived on terms of equality 
and friendship creditable to both. The secretary neither asked 
for nor received any salary : when he required money, ho sim- 
ply dipped into the cash-box of the First Consul. As the 
whole power of the State gradually passed into the hands of 
the Confml, tlie labours of the secretary became heavier. His 
successor broke down under a lighter load, and had to rcccivo 
assistance ; but, perhaps borne up by the absorbing interest 
of the work and the groat influence given by his post, Bour- 
rienne stuck to his place, and to all ftpi)oarance might, oxcoi)t 
for himself, have come down to us as the companion of Na- 
j)()loon during his wliolo life. He had oncmies, and one of 
them ' has not shrunk from deHcriV)ing their gratification ai 

• Bouluy de la Moiutlic. 


the disgrace of the trusted secretary. Any one in favour, or 
indeed in office, under Nai^oleon was the sure mark of calumny 
for all aspirants to i3lace ; vet Bourrienne might have weathered 
any temporary storm raised by unfounded reports as success- 
fully as Meneval, who followed him. But Bourrienne's hands 
were not clean in money matters, and that was an unpardon- 
able sin in any one who desired to be in real intimacy with 
Napoleon. He became involved in the affairs of the House of 
Coulon, which failed, as will be seen in the notes, at the time 
of his disgrace ; and in October 1802 he was called on to hand 
over his office to Meneval, who retained it till invalided after 
the Kussian campaign. 

As has been said, Bourrienne would naturally be the mark for 
many accusations, but the conclusive proof of his misconduct 
— at least for any one acquainted with Napoleon's objection 
and dislike to changes in office, whether from his strong belief 
in the effects of training, or his equally strong dislike of new 
faces round him — is that he was never again employed near his 
old comrade ; indeed he really never saw the Emperor again 
at any private interview, except when granted the usual official 
reception in 1805, before leaving to take up his post at Ham- 
burg, which he held till 1810. We know that his re-employ- 
ment was urged by Josephine and several of his former com- 
panions. Savary himself says he tried his advocacy ; but 
Napoleon was inexorable to those who, in his own phrase, 
had sacrificed to the golden calf. 

Sent, as we have said, to Hamburg in 1805, as Minister 
Plenipotentiary to the Duke of Bmnswick, the Duke of 
Mecklenburg-Schwerin, and to the Hanse towns, Bourrienne 
knew how to make his post an important one. He was at one 
of the great seats of the commerce which suffered so fearfully 
from the Continental system of the Emperor, and he was 
charged to watch over the German jiress. How well he ful- 
filled this duty we learn from Metternich, who wiites in 1805 : 
*' I have sent an article to the newspaper editors in Berlin and 

PREFACE, xiit 

he himself calls the "age of Napoleon," says of the Memoirs : 
"If you want something to read, both interesting and amus- 
ing, get the Mémoires de Bourrienne. These are the only 
authentic Memoii's of Napoleon which have yet appeared. 
The style is not brilliant, but that only makes them the more 
trustworthy." Indeed, Metternich himself in his own Me- 
moirs often follows a good deal in the line of Bourrienne : 
among many formal attacks, every now and then he lapses 
into haK involuntary and indirect praise of his great antag- 
onist, especially where he compares the men he had to deal 
with in aftertimes with his former rapid and talented inter- 
locutor. To some even among the Bonapartists, Bourrienne 
was not altogether distasteful. Lucien Bonaparte, remarking 
that the time in which Bourrienne treated with Napoleon as 
equal with equal did not last long enough for the secretary, 
says he has taken a little revenge in his Memoirs, just as a 
lover, after a break with his mistress, reveals all her defects. 
But Lucien considers that Bourrienne gives us a good enough 
idea of the young oflScer of the artillery, of the great General, 
and of the First Consul. Of the Emperor, says Lucien, he 
was too much in retirement to be able to judge equally well. 
But Lucien was not a fair representative of the Bonapartists; 
indeed he had never really thought well of his brother or of 
his actions since Lucien, the former " Brutus " Bonaparte, 
had ceased to be the adviser of the Consul. It was well for 
Lucien himself to amass a fortune from the presents of a cor- 
jrupt court, and to be made a Prince and Duke by the Pope, 
but he was too sincere a republican not to disapprove of the 
imperial system. The real Bonapartists were naturally and 
inevitably furious with the Memoirs. They were not tnie, 
they were not the work of Bourrienne, Bourrienne himself was 
a traitor, a })urloincr of manuscripts, his memory was as bad 
as his principles, h(3 was not even entitled to the dc before his 
name. If the Memoirs were at all to be pardoned, it was bo- 
cause his share was only really a few notes wiimg from him by 


large pecuniary offers at a time when he was pursued by hia 
creditors, and when his brain was ah-eady affected. 

The Bonapartist attack on the Memoirs was delivered in 
full form, in two volumes, Bourrienne et ses En^eurs, Volon- 
taires et Livolontaires (Paris, Heideloff, 1830), edited by the 
Comte d'Aure, the Ordonnateur en Chef of the Egyptian ex- 
pedition, and containing communications from Josej^h Bona- 
parte, Gourgaud, Stein, etc' 

Part of the system of attack was to call in question the 
authenticity of the Memoirs, and this was the more easy as 
Bourrienne, losing his fortune, died in 1834 in a state of 
imbecility. But this plan is not systematically followed, and 
the very reproaches addressed to the writer of the Memoirs 
often show that it was believed they were really written by 
Bourrienne. They undoubtedly contain plenty of faults. The 
editor (Villeraarest, it is said) probably had a large share in 
the work, and Bourrienne must have forgotten or misplaced 
many dates and occun-ences. In such a work, undertaken so 
many years after the events, it was inevitable that many errors 
should be made, and that many statements should be at least 
debatable. But on close investigation the work stands the 
attack in a way that would be impossible unless, it had really 
been written by a person in the peculiar position occupied by 
Bourrienne. He has assuredly not exaggerated that position : 
he really, says Lucien Bonaparte, treated as equal with equal 
with Napoleon during a part of his career, and he certainly 
was the nearest friend and confidant that Napoleon ever had 
in his life. 

Where he fails, or where the Bonapartist fire is -most tell- 
ing, is in the account of the Egyptian expedition. It may 
seem odd that he should have forgotten, even in some thirty 
years, details such as the way in which the sick were removed ; 
but such matters were not in his province ; and it would be 

1 In the notes in thU present edition these volumes ai'e referred to in brief m 
•• IrVrcî/r*." 


easy to match similar omissions in other works, such as the 
accounts of the Crimea, and still more of the Peninsula. It 
is with his personal relations with Napoleon that we are most 
concerned, and it is in them that his account receives most 

It may be interesting to see what has been said of the 
Memoirs by other writers. We have quoted Metternich, and 
Lucien Bonaparte ; let us hear Meneval, his successor, who 
remained faithful to his master to the end : *' Absolute confi- 
dence cannot be given to statements contained in Memoirs 
published under the name of a man who has not composed 
them. It is known that the editor of these Memoirs offered to 
M. de Bourrienne, who had then taken refuge in Holstein 
from his creditors, a sum said to be thirty thousand francs to 
obtain his signature to them, with some notes and addenda. 
M. de Bourrienne was already attacked by the disease from 
which he died a few years latter in a maison de santé at Caen. 
Many literary men co-operated in the preparation of his 
Memoirs. In 1825 I met M, de Bourrienne in Paris. He 
told me it had been suggested to him to write against the 
llmperor. 'Notwithstanding the harm he has done me,' said 
ho, ' I would never do so. Sooner may my hand be withered.* 
If M. de Bourrienne had prepared his Memoirs himself, he 
would not have stated that while he was the Emperor's minis- 
ter at Hamburg ho worked with the agents of the Comte de 
Lille (Louis XVIII.) at the preparation of proclamations in 
favour of that Prince, and that in 1814 he accepted the thanks 
of the King, Louis XYIIL, for doing so; he would not have 
said that Napoleon had confided to him in 1805 that he had 
never conceived the idea of an expedition into England, and 
that the plan of a landing, the preparations for which he gave 
Kuch publicity to, was only a snare to amuse fools. The Em- 
peror well know that newer was thore a plan more Rcriously 
conceived or more positively setllrd. M. de Bourrienne would 
not have spoken of his private interviews with Napoleon, nor 


of the alleged confidences entrusted to him, Tvliile really 
Napoleon had no longer received him after the 20tli October 
1802. When the Emperor, in 1805, forgetting his faults, 
named him Minister Plenipotentiary at Hamburg, he granted 
him the customary audience, but to this favour he did not 
add the return of his former friendship. Both before and 
afterwards he constantly refused to receive him, and he did 
not correspond with him " (Meneval, ii. 378-70). And in 
another passage Meneval says : " Besides, it would be -«Tong 
to regard these Memoirs as the work of the man whose name 
they bear. The bitter resentment M. de Bourricnne had 
nourished for his disgrace, the enfeeblement of his faculties, 
and the poverty he was reduced to, rendered him accessible 
to the pecuniary ofifers made to him. He consented to give 
the authority of his name to Memoirs in whose composition 
he had only co-operated by incomplete, confused, and often 
inexact notes, materials which an editor was employed to put 
in order." And Meneval (iii. 29-30) goes on to quote what he 
himself had written in the Spectateur Militaire, in which he 
makes much the same assertions, and especially objects to the 
account of conversations with the Emperor after 1802, except 
always the one audience on taking leave for Hamburg. Mene- 
val also says that Napoleon, when he wished to obtain intelli- 
gence from Hamburg, did not correspond with Bourrienne, 
but deputed him, Meneval, to ask Bourrienne for what was 
wanted. But he corroborates Bourrienne on the subject of 
the efforts made, among others by Josephine, for his reappoint- 

Such are the statements of the Bonapartists pure ; and the 
reader, as has been said, can judge for himself how far the 
attack is good. Bourrienne. or his editor, may well have con- 
fused the date of his interviews, but he will not be found 
much astray on many points. His account of the conversation 
of Josephine after the death of the Due d'Enghien may be 
eompared with what we know from Madame do Rémusat, 


who, by the way, would have been horrified if she had known 
that he considered her to resemble the Empress Josephine in 

We now come to the views of Savaiy, the Due de Rovigo, 
who avowedly remained on good terms with Bourrienne after 
his disgrace, though the friendship of Savary was not exactly 
a thing that most men would have much prided themselves 
on. "Bourrienne had a prodigious memory; he spoke and 
wrote in several languages, and his pen ran as quickly as one 
could speak. Nor were these the only advantages he pos- 
sessed. He knew the routine of public business and public 
law. His activity and devotion made him indispensable to 
the First Consul. I knew the qualities which won for him 
the unlimited confidence of his chief, but I cannot speak with 
the same assurance of the faults which made him lose it. 
Bourrienne had many enemies, both on account of his charac- 
ter and of his place " (Savary, i. 418-19). 

Marmont ought to be an impartial critic of the Memoirs. 
He says, " Bounienne . . . had a very great capacity, but 
he is a striking example of the great truth that our passions 
are always bad counsellors. By inspiring us with an immod- 
erate ardour to reach a fixed end, they often make us miss it. 
Bourrienne had an immoderate love of money. With his tal- 
ents and his position near Bonaparte at the first dawn of 
greatness, with the confidence and real good-will which Bona- 
parte felt for him, in a few years he would have gained every- 
tliing in fortune and in social position. But his eager impa- 
tience ruined his career at the moment when it might have 
developed and increased " (Marmont, i. G4). The criticism 
api>oars just. As to the Memoirs, Marmont says (ii. 224), "In 
general, these Memoirs are of great veracity and powerful 
interest so long as they treat of what the author has seen and 
heard ; but when ho speaks of others, his work is only an as- 
semblage of gratuitous suppositions and of false facts put for- 
ward for special purposes." 


The Comte Alexandre de Puymaigre, who arrived at Ham- 
burgh soon after Bourrienne had left it in 1810, says (page 
135) of the part of the Memoirs which relates to Hamburg, 
**I must acknowledge that generally his assertions are well 
founded. This former companion of Napoleon has only for- 
gotten to speak of the opinion that they had of him in this 

"The truth is, that he was believed to have made much 
money there." 

Thus we may take Bourrienne as a clever, able man, who 
would have risen to the highest honours under the Empire 
had not his short-sighted grasping after lucre driven him from 
ojffice, and prevented him from ever regaining it under Napo- 

In the present edition the translation has been carefully 
compared with the original French text. Where in the orig- 
inal text information is given which has now become mere 
matter of history, and where Bourrienne merely quotes the 
documents well enough known at this day, his possession of 
which forms part of the charges of his opponents, advantage 
has been taken to lighten the mass of the Memoirs. This has 
been done especially where they deal with what the writer did 
not himself see or hear, the part of the Memoirs which are 
of least value and of which Marmont's opinion has just been 
quoted. But in the personal and more valuable part of the 
Memoirs, where we have the actual knowledge of the secretary 
himself, the original text has been either fully retained, or 
aome few passages previously omitted restored. Illustrative 
notes have been added from the Memoirs of the successor of 
Bourrienne, Meneval, Madame de Rdmusat, the works of 
Colonel lung on Bonaparte et Son Tempa, and on Lucien Bona- 
parte, etc., and other books. Attention has also been paid to 
the attacks of the Erreurs, and wherever these criticisms are 
more than a mere expression of disagreement, their purport 
has been recorded with, where possible, some judgment of th« 


evidence. Thns the reader will have before him the materials 
for deciding himself how far Bourrienne's statements are in 
agi'eement with the facts and with the accounts of other 

At the present time too much attention has been paid to 
the Memoirs of Madame de Rémusat. She, as also Madame 
Junot, was the wife of a man on whom the full shower of 
imperial favours did not descend, and, womanlike, she saw 
and thought only of the Court life of the great man who wa» 
never less great than in his Court. She is equally astonished 
and indignant that the Emperor, coming straight from long 
hours of work with his ministers and with his secretary, could 
not find soft words for the ladies of the Court, and that, a hor- 
rible thing in the eyes of a Frenchwoman, when a mistress 
threw herself into his arms, he first thought of what political 
knowledge he could obtain from her. Bourrienne, on the 
other hand, shows us the other and the really important side 
of Napoleon's character. He tells us of the long hours in the 
Cabinet, of the never-resting activity of the Consul, of Napo- 
leon's dreams, no ignoble dreams and often realised, of great 
labours of peace as well as of war. He is a witness, and the 
more valuable as a reluctant one, to the marvellous powers of 
the man who, if not the greatest, was at least the one most 
fully endowed with every gi-eat quality of mind and body the 
world haa ever seen. 

R W. P. 


The desire of trading upon an illustrious name can alone 
have given birth to the multitude of publications under 
the titles of historical memoirs, secret memoirs, and other 
rhapsodies which have appeared respecting Napoleon. On 
looking into them it is difficult to determine whether the 
impudence of the writers or the simplicity of certain 
readers is most astonishing. Yet these rude and ill- 
digested compilations, filled with absurd anecdotes, fabri- 
cated speeches, fictitious crimes or virtues, and disfigured 
by numerous anachronisms, instead of being consigned to 
just contempt and speedy oblivion, have been pushed into 
notice by speculators, and have found zealous partisans 
and enthusiastic apologists.' 

For a time I entertained the idea of noticing, one by 
one, the numerous errors which have been written re- 
specting Napoleon ; but I have renounced a task which 
would have been too laborious to myself, and verj^ tedious 
to the reader. I shall therefore only correct those which 
come within the plan of my work, and which are con- 
nected with those facts, to a more accurate knowledge of 
which than any other person can possess I may lay claim. 
There are men who imagine that nothing done by Napo- 
Iron will over be forgotten ; but must not the slow but 
inevitable influence of time be expected to operate with 
respect to him ? The effect of that influence is, that the 
most important event of an epoch soon sinks, almost im- 

> Thii Introduction ban been reprinted an boarins upon the oharaoter of tU« work, 
but refers very often to evcnt« of the »li\y at tho tiuio of it« ûibt appeorauc*. 


percej^tiblv and almost disregarded, into the immense 
mass of historical facts. Time, in its progress, diminishes 
the probability as well as the interest of such an event, as 
it gradually wears away the most durable monuments. 

I attach only a relative importance to what I am about 
to lay before the public. I shall give authentic docu- 
ments. If all persons who have approached Napoleon, at 
any time and in any place, would candidly record what 
they saw and heard, without passion, the future historian 
would be rich in materials. It is my wish that he who 
may undertake the difficult task of writing the history of 
Napoleon shall find in my notes information useful to the 
perfection of his work. There he will at least find truth. 
I have not the ambition to wish that what I state should 
be taken as absolute authority ; but I hope that it will 
always be consulted. 

I have never before published anything respecting 
Napoleon. That malevolence which fastens itself upon 
men who have the misfortune to be somewhat separated 
from the crowd has, because there is always more profit 
in saying ill than good, attributed to me several works on 
Bonaparte ; among others, Les Mémoires secrets d'un 
Homme qui ne Va pas quitté, par M. B ■_ — , and Mé- 
moires secrets sur Napoléon Bonaparte, par M. de B , 

and Le Précis Hidorique sur Napoléon. The initial of my 
name has served to propagate this error. The incredible 
ignorance which runs through those memoirs, the ab- 
surdities and inconceivable silliness with which they 
abound, do not permit a man of honour and common 
sense to allow such wretched rhapsodies to be imputed to 
him. I declared in 1815, and at later periods, in the 
French and foreign journals, that I had no hand in those 
publications, and I here formally repeat this declaration. 

But it may be said to me. Why should we place more 
confidence in you than in those who have written before 


My reply shall be plain. I enter the lists one of the 
last. I have read all that my predecessors have published. 
I am confident that all I state is true. I have no interest 
in deceiving, no disgrace to fear, no reward to expect. I 
neither wish to obscure nor embellish his glory. However 
great Napoleon may have been, was he not also liable to 
pay his tribute to the weakness of human nature ? I speak 
of Napoleon such as I have seen him, known him, fre- 
quently admired and sometimes blamed him. I state 
what I saw, heard, wrote, and thought at the time, under 
each circumstance that occurred. I have not allowed my- 
self to be carried away by the illusions of the imagination, 
nor to be influenced by friendship or hatred. I shall not 
insert a single reflection which did not occur to me at the 
very moment of the event which gave it birth. How 
many transactions and documents were there over which 
I could but lament! — how many measures, contrary to my 
views, to my principles, and to my character ! — while the 
best intentions were incapable of overcoming difficulties 
which a most powerful and decided will rendered almost 

I also wish the future historian to compare what I say 
with what others have related or may relate. But it will 
be necessary for him to attend to dates, circumstances, 
difference of situation, change of temperament, and age, — 
for age has much influence over men. We do not think 
and act at fifty as at twenty-five. By exercising this cau- 
tion ho will be able to discover the truth, and to establish 
an opinion for posterity. 

The reader must not expect to find in these Memoirs 
an uninterrupted series of all the events wliich marked 
the great career of Napoleon ; nor details of all thoso 
battles, witli the recital of which so many eminent men 
have usefully and ably occupied themselves. I shall say 
little about whatever I did not see or Lear, and which is 
not supported by official documents. 


Perhaps I shall succeed in confirming truths which 
have been doubted, and in correcting errors which have 
been adopted. If I sometimes differ from the observations 
and statements of Napoleon at St. Helena, I am far from 
supposing that those who undertook to be the medium of 
communication between him and the public have misrep- 
resented what he said. I am well convinced that none of 
the writers of St. Helena can be taxed with the slightest 
deception ; — disinterested zeal and nobleness of character 
are undoubted pledges of their veracity. It appears to me 
perfectly certain that Napoleon stated, dictated, or cor- 
rected all they have published. Their honour is unques- 
tionable ; no one can doubt it. That they wrote what he 
communicated must therefore be believed ; but it cannot 
with equal confidence be credited that what he communi- 
cated was nothing but the truth. He seems often to have 
related as a fact what was really only an idea^ — an idea, 
too, brought forth at St. Helena, the child of misfortune, 
and transported by his imagination to Europe in the time 
of his prosperity. His favourite phrase, which was every 
moment on his lips, must not be forgotten — "What will 
history say — what will posterity think ? " This passion 
for leaving behind him a celebrated name is one which 
belongs to the constitution of the human mind ; and with 
Napoleon its influence was excessive. In his first Italian 
campaign he wrote thus to General Clarke : " That am- 
bition and the occupation of high ofiSces were not suffi- 
cient for his satisfaction and happiness, which he had 
early placed in the opinion of Europe and the esteem of 
posterity." He often observed to me that with him the 
oj^inion of posterity was the real immortality of the soul. 

It may easily be conceived that Napoleon wished to give 
to the documents which he knew historians would consult 
a favourable colour, and to direct, according to his own 
views, the judgment of posterity on his actions. But it 
is only by the impartial comparison of periods, positions, 


and age that a well-founded decision will be given. About 
his fortieth year the physical constitution of Napoleon 
sustained considerable change ; and it may be presumed 
that his moral qualities were affected by that change. It is 
particularly important not to lose sight of the premature 
decay of his health, which, perhaps, did not permit him 
always to possess the vigour of memory otherwise con- 
sistent enough with his age. The state of our organisation 
often modifies our recollections, our feelings, our manner 
of viewing objects, and the impressions we receive. This 
will be taken into consideration by judicious and thinking 
men ; and for them I write. 

What M. de Las Casas states Napoleon to have said in 
May 1816 on the manner of writing his history corrob- 
orates the opinion I have expressed. It proves that all 
the facts and observations he communicated or dictated 
were meant to serve as materials. We learn from the 
Memorial that M. de Las Casas wrote daily, and that the 
manuscript was read over by Napoleon, who often made 
corrections with his own hand. The idea of a journal 
pleased him greatly. He fancied it would be a work of 
which the world could afford no other example. But there 
are passages in which the order of events is deranged ; in 
others facts are misrepresented and erroneous assertions 
are made, I apprehend, not altogether involuntarily. 

I have paid particular attention to all that has been pub- 
lished by the noble participators of the imperial captivity. 
Nothing, however, could induce me to change a word in 
these Memoirs, because nothing could take from me my 
conviction of the truth of what I personally heard and 
saw. It will be found that Napoleon in his private con- 
versations often confirms what I state ; but we sometimes 
differ, and the public must judge between us. However, 
I must hero make one observation. 

When Napoleon dictated or related to his friends in St. 
Helena the facts which they have reported he was out ol 


the world, — lie had played his part. Fortune, which, ac- 
cording to his notions, had conferred on him all his power 
and greatness, had recalled all her gifts before he sank 
into the tomb. His ruling passion w^ould induce him to 
think that it was due to his glory to clear up certain facts 
which might prove an unfavourable escort if they accom- 
panied him to posterity. This was his fixed idea. But is 
there not some ground for suspecting the fidelity of him 
who writes or dictates his own history ? Why might he 
not impose on a few persons in St. Helena, when he was 
able to impose on France and Europe, respecting many 
acts which emanated from him during the long duration 
of his power ? The hfe of Napoleon would be very un- 
faithfully written were the author to adopt as true all his 
bulletins and proclamations, and all the declarations he 
made at St. Helena. Such a history would frequently be 
in contradiction to facts ; and such only is that which 
might be entitled, The History of Napoleon, written by 

I have said thus much because it is my wish that the 
principles which have guided me in the composition of 
these Memoirs may be understood. I am aware that they 
will not please every reader ; that is a success to which I 
cannot pretend. Some merit, however, may be allowed 
me on account of the labour I have undergone. It has 
neither been of a slight nor an agreeable kind. I made it 
a rule to read everything that has been written respecting 
Napoleon, and I have had to decipher many of his auto- 
graph documents, though no longer so familiar with his 
scrawl as formerly. I say decipher, because a real cipher 
might often be much more readily understood than the 
handwriting of Napoleon. My own notes, too, which 
were often very hastily made, in the hand I wrote in my 
youth, have sometimes also much embarrassed me. 

My long and intimate connection with Bonaparte from 
boyhood, my close relations with him when General, Con- 


sul, and" Emperor, enabled me to see and appreciate all 
that was projected and all that was done during that con- 
siderable and momentous period of time. I not only had 
the opportunity of being present at the conception and 
the execution of the extraordinary deeds of one of the 
ablest men '-.ature ever formed, but, notwithstanding an 
almost unceasing application to business, I found means 
to employ the few moments of leisure which Bonaparte 
left at my disposal in making notes, collecting documents, 
and in recording for history facts respecting which the 
truth could otherwise with difficulty be ascertained ; and 
more particularly in collecting those ideas, often profound, 
brilliant, and striking, but always remarkable, to which 
Bonapai-te gave expression in the overflowing frankness of 
confidential intimacy. 

The knowledge that I possessed much important infor- 
mation has exposed me to many inquiries, and wherever I 
have resided since my retirement from public affairs much 
of my time has been spent in replying to questions. The 
wish to be acquainted with the most minute details of the 
life of a man formed on an unexampled m del is very nat- 
ural ; and the observation on my replies by those who heard 
them always was, " You should publish your Memoirs ! " 

I had certainly always in view the j3ublication of my 
Memoirs ; but, at the same time, I was firmly resolved not 
to publish them until a period should îirrive in which I 
might tell the truth, and the whole truth. While Napo- 
leon was in the possession of power I felt it right to resist 
the urgent apphcations made to me on tliis subject by 
some persons of the highest distinction. Trutli would 
then have soniotimos appeared flattery, and sometimes, 
also, it miglit not have been witliout danger. Afterwards, 
when the progress of events removed Bouaparte to a far 
distant island in the midst of the ocean, silence was im- 
posed on me by other considerutious, — by considérations 
of propriety and feeling. 


After the death of Bonaparte, at St, Helena, reasons of 
a different nature retarded the execution of my plan. The 
tranquillity of a secluded retreat was indispensable for 
preparing and putting in order the abundant materials in 
my possession. I found it also necessaiy to read a great 
number of works, in order to rectify important eiTors to 
which the want of authentic documents had induced the 
authors to give credit. This much-desired retreat was 
found. I had the good fortune to be introduced, through 
a friend, to the Duchesse de Brancas, and that lady in- 
vited me to pass some time on one of her estates in Hai- 
nault. Received with the most agreeable hospitality, I 
have there enjoyed that tranquillity which could alone 
have rendered the publication of these volumes practicable. 



Chbonology of Bonaparte's Life pages xliii-liii 



Authentic date of Bonaparte's birth — His family ruined by the Jesuits — 
His taste for military amusements — Sham siege at the College of 
Brienne — The porter's wife and Napoleon — My intimacy with Bona- 
parte at college — His love for the mathematics, and his dislike of 
Latin — He defends Paoli and blames his father — He is ridiculed by 
his comrades — Ignorance of the monks — Distribution of prizes at 
Brienne — Madame de Montesson and the Duke of Orleans — Report of 
M. Kéralio on Bonaparte — He leaves Brienne 1-13 



Bonaparte enters the Military College of Paris — Ho urges me to embrace 
the military professioii — His report on the state of the Military 
School of Pari» — He ol)tainH a commission — I set ofT for Vienna — Re- 
turn to Paris, where I again meet Bonaparte — His singular plans for 
ruisitig monoy — Louis XVI. with tho rod cap on his head — 'I'he lUth 
of August — My departure for Stutt}jart — Hoiuiparto goes to Corsica — 
My name inscribed on tlie lint of cmigrantH — Bonaparte at Mio siogo 
of Toulon — Lf Soupet do licaucaire — Napoleon's mission to Genoa — 
His arioHt — His autograph ical justification — Duroc's first connection 
with Bonaparte 13 27 




Proposal to send Bonaparte to La Vendee — He is struck off the list of 
general officers — Salicetti — Joseph's marriage with Mademoiselle Clary 
— Bonaparte's wish to go to Turkey — Note explaining the plan of his 
proposed expedition — Madame Bourrienne's character of Bonaparte, 
and account of her husband's arrest — Constitution of the year III.— . 
The 13th Vendémiaire — Bonaparte appointed second in command of 
the army of the interior — Eulogium of Bonaparte by Barras, and its 
consequences — St. Helena manuscript 28-44 



On my return to Paris I meet Bonaparte — His interview with Josephine 
— Bonaparte's marriage, and departure from Paris ten days after — 
Portrait and character of Josephine — Bonaparte's dislike of national 
property — Letter to Josephine — Letter of General Colli, and Bona- 
parte's reply — Bonaparte refuses to serve with Kellerman — Marmont's 
letters — Bonaparte's order to me to join the army — My departure from 
Sens for Italy — Insurrection of the Venetian States 45-58 



Signature of the preliminaries of peace — Fall of Venice — My arrival and 
reception at Leoben — Bonaparte wishes to pursue his success — The 
Directory opposes him — He wishes to advance on Vienna — Movement 
of the army of the Sambre-et-Meuse — Bonaparte's dissatisfaction 
— Arrival at Milan — We take up o\n* residence at Montebello — Napo- 
leon's j udgment respecting Dandolo and Melzi 59-64 



Napoleon's correspondence — Release of French prisoners at Olmutz — 
Negotiations with Austria — Bonaparte's dissatisfaction — Letter of 
complaint from Bonaparte to the Executive Directory — Note respect- 


ing the affairs of Venice and the Club of Clichy, written by Bonaparte 
and circulated in the army — Intercepted letter of the Emperor 
Francis 65-73 



Unfounded reports — Camot — Capitulation of Mantua — General Clarke— 
The Directory yields to Bonaparte — Berthier — Arrival of Eugene 
Beauharnaie at Milan — Comte Delaunay d'Entraigues — His inter- 
view with Bonaparte — Seizure of his papers — Copy of one describing a 
conversation between him and Comte de Montgaillard — The Em- 
peror Francia — The Prince de Condé and General Pichegru. . . 73-84 



The royalists of the interior — Bonaparte's intention of marching on Paris 
with 25,000 men — His animosity against the emigrants and the 
Clichy Club — His choice between the two parties of the Director,v — 
Augereau's order of the day against the word Monsieur — Bonaparte 
wishes to be made one of the five Directors — He supports the ma- 
jority of the Directory — La Vallette, Augereau, and Bernadotte 
sent to Paris— Interesting correspondence relative to the 18th Fruc- 
tidor 85-94 



Bonaparte's joy at the result of the ISth Fructidor.— His letter to Au- 
gereau — His correspondeiice with tlie Directory and proj)OBed resigna- 
tion— Explanation of the Din'ct()ry--llottot — (Jeneral Clarke — Let- 
ter from Madame Hacciocchi to Hou.iparte— Autograph letter of the 
Em[)eror FniiiciH to lionaparto — Arrival of (/ount Cobcnteel— Auto- 
graph note of Boua])arte on the conditions of peace 95-103 




Influence of the 18th Fructidor on the negotiations — Bonaparte's bub- 
picion of Bottot — His complaints respecting the non-erasure of 
Bourrienne — Bourrienne's conversation -^-ith the Marqids of Galio — 
Bottot writes from Paris to Bonaparte on the part of the Directory- — 
Agents of the Director^' employed to watch Bonaparte — Influence of 
the weather on the conclusion of peace — Remarkable observation of 
Bonaparte — Conclusion of the treaty — The Directory dissatisfied 
■with the terms of the peace — Bonaparte's predilection for representa- 
tive government — Opinion on Bonaparte 103-112 



Effect of the 18th Fructidor on the peace— The standard of the army of 
Italy — Honours rendered to the memory of General Hoche and of 
Virgil at Mantua — Remarkable letter — In passing through Switzer- 
land Bonaparte visits the field of Morat — Arrival at Rastadt— Letter 
from the Directory calling Bonaparte to Paris—Intrigues against 
Josephine — Grand ceremony on the reception of Bonaparte by the 
Directory — The theatres — Modesty of Bonaparte — An assassination 
—Bonaparte's opinion of the Parisians — His election to the National 
Institute— Letter to Camus — Projectu — Reflections 113-126 



Bonaparte's departure from Paris — His return — The Egv-ptian expedition 
projected— M. de Talleyrand— General Desaix— Expedition against 
Malta — Money taken at Berne— Bonaparte's ideas rcs{ ecting the 
East— Monge — Non-influence of the Directorj' — Marriages of Mar- 
mont and La Valette — Bouaparte's plan of colonising EgA-pt — Hia 
camp library — Orthographical blunders — Stock of wines — Bona- 
parte's arrival at Toulon — Madame Bonaparte's fall from a balcony — 
Execution of an old man — Simon 127-138 




Departure of the squadron — Arrival at Malta — Dolomieu — General Para- 
guay d'Hilliers— Attack on the western part of the island— Caffarelli' a 
remark — Deliverance of the Turkish prisoners — Nelson's pursuit of 
the French fleet — Conversation s on board — How Bonaparte passed his 
time — Questions to the Captains — Propositions discussed — Morning 
music — Proclamation — Admiral Brueys — The English fleet avoided — 
Dangerous landing —Bonaparte and his fortune — Alexandria taken — 
Kléber wounded — Bonaparte's entrance into Alexandria .... 139-151 



The mirage— Skirmishes with the Arabs— Mistake of General Desaix^s 
division — Wretchedness of a rich sheik — Combat beneath the 
General's window— The flotilla on the Nile— Its distress and danger 
— The battle of Chebreisse — Defeat of the Mamelukes — Bonaparte's 
reception of me — Letter to Louis Bonaparte — Success of the French 
army— Triumphal entrance into Cairo— Civil and military organisa- 
tion of Cairo — Bonaparte's letter to his brother Joseph — Plan of 
•oloniBation 153-159 



KHtablishmont of a divan in each Egyptian province— Dosaix in Upper 
Egypt— Ibraliim Wty bfaten l>y Honapartt' at Salehyc'h— Sulkowsky 
wotmdod— DisaHter at Al)ouk;ir— Uissatisfaction and murmurs of the 
army— Dejection of the (ieneral- in-Chief —His plan n-spoctiug Egypt- 
Meditated descent upon England— Bonaparte's censure of the Di- 
rectory— Interocptcd correspondoncc 100-105 



Th« Egyptian Institute — Festival of the birth of Mahomet — Bonaparte's 
prudent respect for the Mahometan religion — His Turkish dress — 
Djezzar, the Pasha of Acre — Thoughts of a campaign in Germany — 
Want of news from France — Bonaparte and Madame Fourés — The 
Egyptian fortune-teller, M. Berth ollet, and the Sheik El Bekri— The 
air "Marlbrook" — Insurrection in Cairo — Death of General Dupuii 
— Death of Sulkowsky — Th« insurrection quelled — Nocturnal execu- 
tions — Destruction of a tribe of Arabs — Convoy of sick and 
wounded — Massacre of the French in Sicily — Projected expedition 
to Syria— Letter to Tippoo Saib 166-179 



Bonaparte's departure for Suez — Crossing the desert — Passage of the Red 
Sea — The fountain of Moses— The Cénobites of Mount Sinai — Danger 
in recrossing the Red Sea — Napoleon's return to Cairo — Money bor- 
rowed at Genoa — New designs upon Syria — Dissatisfaction of the 
Ottoman Porte — Plan for invading Asia — Gigantic schemes — General 
Berthier's permission to return to France — His romantic love and the 
ador«d portrait — He gives up his permission to return home — Louia 
Bonaparte leaves Egypt — The first Cashmere shawl in France — Inter- 
cepted correspondence — Departure for Syria — Fountains of Messou- 
diah — Bonaparte jealous — Discontent of the troops — El-Arish taken — 
Aspect of Syria — Ramleh — Jerusalem lSO-192 



AjtIveI at Jaffa — The siege — Beauharnais and Croisier — Four thouBand 
priaoners — Scarcity of provisions — Councils of war — Dreadful neces- 
sity— Th« maasacrc— The plague— Laniies and the mountaineers — 


Barbarity of Djezzar — Arrival at St. Jean d'Acre, and abortive 
attacks — Sir Sidney Smith — Death of Caflfarelli — Duroc wounded — 
Rash bathing — Insurrections in Egypt 193-205 




The siege of Acre raised — Attention to names in bulletins — Gigantic pro- 
ject — The Druses — Mount Carrael — The wounded and infected — 
Order to march on foot — Loss of our cannon — A Nablousian fires at 
Bonaparte — Return to Jaffa — Bonaparte visits the plague hospital — A 
potion given to the sick— Bonaparte's statement at St. Helena. 206-230 



Murat and Mourad Bey at the Natron Lakes — Bonaparte's departure for 
the Pyramids — Sudden appearance of an Arab messenger — News of 
the landing of the Turks at Aboukir — Bonaparte marches against 
them— They are immediately attacked and destroyed in the battle of 
Aboukir — Interchange of communication with the English — Sudden 
determination to return to Europe — Outfit of two frigates — Bona- 
parte's dissimulation — His pretended journey to the Delta — Generous 
behaviour of Lanusse — Bonaparte's artifice — His bad treatment of 
General KI6ber 281-330 


Out departure from Egypt— Nocturnal embarkation— M. Parsev&l Gra»(l- 
maison — Our course — Adverse winds — Foar of the Enj^lish — Favour- 
able weather— Vingt-ot-im—ChefiH— Wo land at Ajaccio— Bonaparte'» 
pretended relations— Family domaiuH— Want of money— Battle of Novi 
— Deatliof Joubert — ViHioiiuryRchoincR— Purchase of a boat — Depart- 
ure from Corsica— The English Bqnadron— Our (>9cai)e— The roads of 
FrejUB—0>ir landing in France -The plague or the AuBtriann— Joy of 
kh« peopl*— The sanitary laws— Bonaparte falsely accused . . 231-340 




Effect produced by Bonaparte's return — His justification — Melancholy 
letter to my wife — Bonaparte's intended dinner at Sens — Louis Bona- 
parte and Josephine — He changes his intended route — Melancholy 
situation of the provinces — Necessity of a chanfje — Bonaparte's am- 
bitious views — Influence of popular applause — Arrival in Paris — His 
reception of Josephine— Their reconciliation — Bonaparte's visit to the 
Directory — His contemptuous treatment of Siéyès 241-248 


Moreau and Bemadotte — Bonaparte's opinion of Bemadotte — False re- 
port — The crown of Sweden and the Constitution of the year HI, — 
Intrigues of Bonaparte's brothers — Angry conversation between Bona- 
parte and Bemadotte — Bonaparte's version — Josephine's version — An 
unexpected visit — The Manege Club — Salicetti and Joseph Bonaparte 
— Bonaparte invites himself to breakfast with Bemadotte — Counti-y 
excursion — Bemadotte dines with Bonaparte — The plot and con- 
spiracy — Conduct of Lucien — Dinner given to Bonaparte by the 
Council of the Five Himdred — Bonaparte's wish to be chosen a mem- 
ber of the Directory — His reconciliation with Siéyès — Offer made by 
the Directory to Bonaparte— He is falsely accused by Barras. 249-261 



Cambaoérè» and LebruH — Gohier deceived— My nocturnal visit to Barras 
— The command of the army given to Bonaparte — The morning of the 
18th Brumaire — Meeting of the generals at Bonaparte's house — Ber- 
nadotte's firmness — Josephine's interest for Madame Gohier — Disap- 
pointment of the Directors — Review in the gardens of the Tuileries 
— Bonaparte's harangue — Proclamation of the Ancients — Moreau, 
jailer of the Luxembourg — My conversation with La Vallette — Bon- 
aparte at St. Cloud 362-273 




The two Councils — Barras' letter — Bonaparte at the Council of the Fire 
Hundred — False reports — Tumultuous sitting — Lucien'» speech — He 
resigns the Presidency of the Council of the Five Hundred — He is 
carried out by grenadiers — He harangues the troops — A dramatic 
scene— Murat and his soldiers drive out the Five Hundred —Council 
of Thirty — Consular commission — Decree — Return to Paris — Conver- 
sation with Bonaparte and Josephine respecting Gohier and Bema- 
dotte — The directors Gohier and Moulins imprisoned 274-285 


General approbation of the 18th Brumaire — Distress of the treasury — M, 
Collet's generosity — Bonaparte's ingratitude — Gohier set at liberty — 
Constitution of the year VIII.— The Senate, Tribunate, and Council 
of State — Notes required on the character of candidates — Bonaparte's 
love of integrity and talent — Influence of habit over him — His hatred 
of the Tribunate — Provisional concessions — The first Consular Min- 
istry — Mediocrity of La Place — Proscription lists — Cambaoérës' 
report — M. Moreau de Worms — Character of Siëyès — Bonaparte at the 
Luxembourg — Distribution of the day and visits — Lebrun 's opposi- 
tion — Bonaparte's singing — His boyish tricks — Resumption of the 
titles " Madame " and "Monseigneur" — The men of the Revolution 
and the partisans of the Bourbons — Bonaparte's fears — Confidential 
notes on candidates for office and the assemblies 286-297 



DilBoultiei of a new Goremment — State of Europe— Bonaparte'» wish 
for peace — M. de Talleyrand Minister for Foreign Afl'airs — Negotia- 
tions with England and Austria — Their failure — Bonaparte's views on 
the East — His sacrificen to policy — General Bonaparte denounced to 
the First Consul — Klober's letter to the Directory— Account» of the 
l^ptian expedition published in the Moniteur — Proclamation to the 
army of the East— Favour and disgrace of certain individual!» ac- 
•ountcd for 296-^^06 




Great and common men — Portrait of Bonaparte — The varied expression of 
his countenance — His convulsive shrug — Presentiment of his cor- 
pulency — Partiality for bathing — His temperance — His alleged capa- 
bility of ditpensing with sleep — Good and bad news — Shaving, and 
reading the journals — Morning buiiness — Breakfast — Coffee and snuff 
— Bonaparte's idea of his own situation — His ill opinion of mankind — 
His dislike of a ttte-à-tête—'Rï% hatred of the Revolutionists — Ladies 
in white — Anecdotes — Bonaparte's tokens of kindness, and his droll 
compliments — Hi» fits of Ul humour — Sound of bells — Gardens of 
Malmaison — His opinion of medicine — His memory — His poetic in- 
sensibility — His want of gallantry — Cards and conversation — The 
dress-coat and black cravat — Bonaparte's payments — Hia religious 
ideas — His obstinacy 306-328 



Bonaparte's laws — Suppression of the festival of the 21 st of January- 
Official visits— The Temple— Louis XVL and Sir Sidney Smith- 
Peculation during the Directory — Loan raised — Modest budget^ — The 
Consul and the Member of the Institute — The figure of the Republic — 
Duroc's missions — The King of Prussia — The Emperor Alexander — 
General Latour-Foissac — Arbitrary decree — Company of players for 
Egypt — Singular ideas respecting literary property — The preparatory 
Consulate— The journals — Sabres and muskets of honour — The First» 
Consul and his Comrade — The bust of Brutus — Statues in the gallery 
of the Tuileries — Sections of the Council of State — Costumes of 
public functionaries — Masquerades — The opera-balls — Recall of the 
«xiles 329-344 



Bonapartfl and Paul I— Lord Whitworth— Baron Sprengporten's arrival 
at Paris — Paul's admiration of Bonaparte — Their close connection 
and correspondence— The royal challenge— General Mack— The road 

CONTENTS. xxxix 

to Malmaison — Attempts at assassination — Death of Washington — 
National mourning — Ambitious calculation — M. de Fontanes, the 
skilful orator — Fête at the Temple of Mars — Murat's marriage with 
Caroline Bonaparte — Madame Bonaparte's pearls 345-360 



Polioe on police — False information — Dexterity of Fouch^ — Police agents 
deceived — Money ill applied — Inutility of political police — Bonaparte's 
opinion — General considerations — My appointment to the Préfecture 
of police 361-367 



Suooesgful management of parties — Precautions — Removal from the 
Luxembourg to the Tuileries — Hackney-coaches and the Consul's 
white horses — Royal custom and an inscription — The review — Bona- 
parte's homage to the standards — Talleyrand in Bonaparte's cabinet — 
Bonaparte's aversion to the cap of liberty even in painting — The state 
bed— Our cabinet 868-377 



The Tuilerie»— -Royalty in perspective— Remarkable obaervation— Pres- 
entation» — AHBumption of tho prerogAtive of mia-cy — M. Defru — M. 
de Frotta' — Georges Cadoufliirs audionoe of Bonaparte— Rapp'» pre- 
caution and Bonaparte's confidence — The dignity of France— Napper 
Tandy and Blackwell delivered up by the Senate of Hamburg -Con- 
tribution in tho lîgyptian style— Valueless bill— Fifteen thousand 
francs in the drawer of a secrHaire — Josephine's debts — Evening 
walks with Bonaparte 378-3M 




Wax and monuments — Influence of the recollections of Egypt — First 
improvements in Paris — Malmaison too little — St. Cloud taken — The 
Pont des Arts — Business prescribed for me by Bonaparte — Pecuniary 
remuneration — The First Consurs visit to the Pritance — His exami- 
nation of the pupils — Consular pensions — Tragical death of Miack- 
zinski — Introduction of vaccination — Recall of the memberr. of the 
Constituent Assembly — The " canary " volunteers — Tronchet and 
Target — Liberation of the Austrian prisoners — Longchamps and 
sacred music — Annex 395-411 



The Memorial of St. Helena— Loms, XVm.'s first letter to Bonaparte — 
Josephine, Hortense, and the Faubourg St. Germain — Madame Bona- 
parte and the fortune-teller — Louis XVIII. 'b second letter- Bona- 
parte's answer — Conversation respecting the recall of Louis XVIII. — 
Peace and war — A battle fought with pins — Genoa and Mela.s — Real- 
isation of Bonaparte's military plans — Ironical letter to Berthier — De- 
parture from Paris — Instructions to Lucien and Cambacérès — Joseph 
Bonaparte appointed Councillor of State — Travelling conversation — 
Alexander and Caesar judged by Bonaparte 412-423 



I. Napoleon I. (First Portrait) .... Title 

n. Letitia Ramolino 2 

m. The Empress Josephine (First Portrait) . . 46 

rV. Eugène Beauharnais 76 

V. General Kjléber 150 

VI. Marshal Lannes 200 

VII. Talleyrand 300 

Vm. General Duroo 334 

IX. MuRAT, King of Naples • • • • • 358 


Aoi. Date. Etent. 

... 1769. Aug. 15.— Napoleon Bonaparte bom at Ajaccio, in Corsica. 
Fourth child of Charlei Bonaparte and of Letitia, néi 

1. 1771. July 21. — Napoleon Bonaparte baptized in the Cathedral of 

9. 1778. Dec. 15.— Napoleon embarks for France with hii father, hi» 
brother Joseph, and his uncle Fesch. 

9. 1779. Jan. 1. — Napoleon enters the College of Autun with Joseph. 

9. 1779. April 25. —Napoleon enters the Royal Military School of 

15. 1784. Oct. 23. — Napoleon enters the Royal Military School of 

15. 1785. Feb. 24. — Charles Bonaparte, father of Napoleon, dies from 

cancer in the stomach, aged thirty-eight years. 

16. 1785. Sept. 1. — Napoleon appointed Lieutenant en second in the 

Compagnie d'Autume of Bombardiers of the 5th Bri- 
gade of the lut Battalion of the (Artillery) Regiment 
de la Fere, then quartered at Valence. 

16. 1785. Oct. 29.— Napoleon leaves the Military School of Paris. 

16. 1785. Nov. 5 to Aug. 11, 1786.— Napoleon at Valence with his 


17. 1786. Aug. 15 to Sept. 20, 1786.— Napoleon at Lyons with regi- 


17. 1786. Oct. 17 to Feb. 1, 1787.— Napoleon at Douai with regiment 

17. 1787. Feb. 1 to Oct. 14, 1787.— Napoleon on leave to Corsica. 

18. 1787. Oct. 15 to Dec. 24, 1 787. —Napoleon quit» Coraica, arrive» 

in PaiiH, obtains fre»h leave, and 




















23. 1792. 



Dec. 2.5 to May 1788. — Napoleon proceeds to Corsica and 

returns early in May. 

May to April 4, 17^ 


-Napoleon at Auxonne with regi» 

April 5 to April 30. — Napoleon at Seurre in command of a 

May 1 to Sept. 15, 1789. 

-Napoleon at Auxonne with r^- 

Sept. 16 to June 1, 1791. — Napoleon proceeds to Corsica; 
engages in revolutionary movements ; returns on loth 
February 1791, having overstayed leave from 15th 
October 1790 ; absence excused on account of contrary 

June 2 to Aug. 20. 1791. — Napoleon join.s the 4th Regiment 
of Artillery at Valence as Lieutenant en premier. 

Aug. 30. — Napoleon starts for Corsica on leave for thre« 
months ; elected in April 1792 as second Lieutenant- 
Colonel of 2d Battalion of Corsican Volunteers ; en- 
gages in fresh revolutionary attempts ; quits Corsica, 
2d May 1792, for France, where he has been dismissed 
for absence without leave. 

Dec. 12. — Marie Louise, daughter of Emperor Francis, 

June 20. — Attack of mob on Tuileries ; King wears cap of 
liberty ; Napoleon looking on. 

Aug. 10. — Sack of Tuileries ; slaughter of Swiss Guard ; 
King suspended from his functions. 

Aug. 30. — Napoleon reinstated ; explaining his absence as 
serving with volunteers, and is promoted as Captain of 
4th Class, with ante-date of 6th February 1792. 

Sept. 14 to June 11, 1793. — Napoleon in Corsica engaged in 
revolutionary attempts, till, having declared against 
Paoli, he and his family have to quit Corsica. Mean- 
while France declared a Republic, 21st September 
1792 ; Louis XVI. guillotined 21st January 179:5. 

June 13 to July 14, 1793. — Napoleon with his company a| 


July 14 to Oct. 9, 1793. — Napoleon \vith army of Carteaux 
in the south, acting against Marseilles and Toulon. 


Age. Date. Event. 

24. 1793. Oct. 9 to Dec. 19. — Napoleon placed in command of part 
of artillery of army of Carteaux before Toulon ; made 
Chef de Bataillon (Major), 19th October ; Toulon taken, 
19th December. 

24. 1T93. Dec. 23. — ^Napoleon nominated provisionally General of 
Brigade ; approved later ; receives commission, 16th 
February 1794. 

24. 1793. Dec. 26 to April 1, 1794.— Napoleon appointed Inspector of 
the coast from the Rhone to the Var, and on inspection 

24. 1794. April 1 to Aug. 5, 1794.— Napoleon with army of Italy 

under Dumerbion ; preparing plans, etc., with the 
younger Robespierre, etc. ; at Genoa 15th-2lBt July. 

24-25. 1794. Aug. 6 to Aug. 20, 1794. —Napoleon in arrest after fall of 
Robespierre on suspicion of treachery. 

35. 1794. Sept. 14 to March 39, 1 795. —Napoleon commanding artillery 

of an intended maritime expedition to Corsica. 

25. 1795. March 27 to May 10. — Napoleon ordered from the sovith to 

join the army in La Vende'e to command its artillery ; 
arrives in Paris, 10th May. 

85-26. 1795. June 13.— Xapoleon ordered to join Hoche's army at Brest, 
to command a brigade of infantry ; remains in Paris ; 
21st August, attached to Comité' de Salut Publicî as 
one of four advisers ; 15th September, struck off list of 
employed generals for disobedience of orders in not 
proceeding to the west. 

36. 1795. Oct. 5, 13th Vendémiaire (Jour des Sections). — Napoleon 

defends the Convention from the revolt of the Secrions, 
and fires on the people, as second in command under 

3B. 1795. Oct. 10.— Napoleon appointed provisionally General of Di- 

26. 1795. Oct. 20.— Napoleon appointed General of Division and 

Commander of the Army of the Interior (i.e. of Paris). 

26. 1796. March 2.— Napoleon appointed Coninian(Jer-in-Chiof of the 
Army of Italy; 9th Marcli, marries Josepliine Tasc-her 
de la Pagcri", Vicomtesse de Beanhurnais, widow of 
General Vieo'Dte Ale.x.mdro do Bcauhurnais, and leaves 
Paris for Italy on 11th March. 


ÀGB. Date. Event. 

36. 1796. — First Italian campaign of Napoleon against Austriani 
under Beaulieu, and Sardinians under Colli. Battle of 
Montenotte, 12th April ; Milleaimo, 13th April ; Dego, 
14th and loth April ; Mondovi, 21 at April ; Armistice 
of Cherasco with Sardinians, 28th April ; Battle of 
Lodi, 9th May ; Austrians beaten out of Lombardy 
and Mantua besieged. 

26. 1796. July and Aug. — First attempt of Austrians to relieve Man- 

tua ; battle of Lonato, 31 st July; Lonato and Casti- 
glione, od August ; and, again, Castiglione, 5tli and Gth 
August ; Wurmser beaten off, and Mantua again in- 

27. 1796. Sept. — Second attempt of Austrians to relieve Mantua; 

battles of Galliano, 4th September ; Primolano, 7th 
September; Bassano, 8th September; St. Georges, 
15th September ; Wurmser driven into Mantua and in- 
vested there. Meanwhile Jourdan has been forced 
back across the Rhine by the Archduke Charles on 
21 st September ; Moreau, after two celebrated re- 
treats, recroBses the Rhine, 25th October. 

27. 1796. Nov. — Third attempt of Austrians to relieve Mantua; 
battles of Caldiero, 11th November, and Areola, 15th, 
16th, and 17th November ; Alvinzi driven off. 

27. 1797. Jan. — Fourth attempt to relieve Mantua ; battles of Rivoli, 
14th January, and Favorita, 16th January ; Alvinzi 
again driven off. 

27. 1797. Feb. 2. — Wurmser surrenders Mantua with 18,000 men. 

27. 1797. March 10. — Napoleon commences his advance on the Arch- 
duke Charles ; beats him at the Tagliamento, 16th 
March ; 7th April, armistice of Judenbourg ; 18th 
April, Provisional Treaty of Leoben with Austria, who 
cedes the Netherlands, and is to get the Venetian ter- 
ritory on the mainland ; Hoche advances, crosses the 
Rhine same day, and Moreau on 20th April, till stopped 
by news of peace. 

31. 1797. Sept. 4. — Coup cd'tat of ISth Fructidor ; majority of Di- 
rectors, supported by the Jacobins and by Napoleon, 
put down Royalist movement and banish many deputies 
to Cayenne. 

38. 1797. Oct. 17. — Treaty of Campo-Formio between France and 
Austria to replace that of Leoben ; Venice partitioned, 
and itself now falls to Austria. 


Agb, Date. Event. 

28. 1798. Jan. 19. — Congress of Rastadt formally opens, continue» 
tUl 28th April 1799. 

28. 1798. — Egyptian expedition. Napoleon sails from Toulon, 19th 
May ; takes Malta, 13th June ; lands near Alexandria, 
1st July ; Alexandria taken, 2d July ; battle of tho 
Chebreisse, 13th July ; battle of the Pyramids, 21st 
July ; Cairo entered, 23d July. 

28. 1798. Aug. 1.— Battle of the NUe. 

29. 1799. March 3.— Napoleon starts for Syria ; 7th March, takes 

Jaffa; 18th March, invests St. Jean d'Acre; 16th 
April, Battle of Mount Tabor ; 22d May, siege of Acre 
raised ; Napoleon reaches Cairo, 14th June. 

29. 1799. July 25.— Battle of Aboukir ; Turks defeated. Mean- 

while the Austrians and Russians liave driven tho 
French out of Italy, Macdonald being beaten by Su- 
warrow on the Trcbbia, 18th to 20th June, and Hoche 
being defeated and killed at Novi, 1.5th August; 
French in same position as when Napoleon took com- 
mand in 179G. 

30. 1799. August (22d August, Thiers ; 24th August, Bourrienne ; 

10th September, Marmont). — Napoleon sails from 
Egypt ; lands at Frejus, 6th October. Meanwhile Mas- 
s^na beats the Russians and Austrians, 25th and 26th 
September, at Zurich ; Suwarrow forces his way over 
the Alps, but withdraws his army in disgust with the 
Austrians in October. 

.30. 1799. Oct. 9 and 10, 18th and 1 0th Brumaire.— Napoleon seizes 
power. Provisionary Consulate formed — Napoleon, 
Siéyës, and Roger Ducos. 

.30. 1799. Dec. 25.— Napoleon, First Consul ; Cambacérès, Second 
Consul ; Lebrun, Third Consul. 

30. 1800. April 25. — Moreau commences his advance into Germany, 
and forces Austrians back on Ulm. 

30. 1800. May and Jime. — Marengo campaign. 14th May, Napoleon 
commences pa«Hage of St. Bernard ; 2(1 June, on tors 
Milan ; 4th June, MassJ-ua Hiirrendors (îenoa to Aiis- 
triauH ; 9th .June, Lunnes gains battle of Montobello ; 
14th June, battle of Marengo ; Desaix killed (Klober 
assassinated in ICgypt same day) ; armintico nigned by 
Napoleon with Melas, 15th Juno; (ienoa and Italian 
fortresses surrendered io French ; Moreau conclii(U;i* 
armistice, 15tli July, having reachiîd middle of Bavaria. 


Jlqk. Date. Evhkt. 

il. 1800. Nov. 28. — Rupture of armistice with Austria; 3d Deceni'* 
ber, Moreau gains battle of Hohenlinden. 

81. 1800. Dec. 24 (3d Nivôse).— Affair of the Rue St. Nicaise ; 

attempt to assassinate Napoleon by infernal machine. 

8L 1801. Feb. 9. — Treaty of Luneville between France and Ger- 
many ; Venice partitioned ; left bank of Rhine and 
the Austrian Netherlands secured to France. 

31. 1801. July 15. — Concorria^ with Rome ; Roman Catholic religion 

restored in France. 

33. 1801. Oct. 1. — Preliminaries of peace between France and Eng- 
land signed at London. 

32. 1802. Jan. 26. — Napoleon Vice-President of Italian Republic. 

32. 1803. March 27. — Treaty of Amiens ; England restores all con- 
quests except Ceylon and Trinidad ; French to evacuate 
Naples and Rome ; Malta to be restored to Knights. 

82. 1802. May 19. — Legion of Honour instituted ; carried out 14th 

July 1814. 

32. 1802. Aug. 4.— Napoleon First Consul for life. 

33. 1803. Feb. 25. — Recess (or Reichs Deputation) of the German 

Empire ; médiatisation of the smaller and of the eccle- 
siastical States of Germany. 

83. 1803. May. — War between France and England. 

33. 1803. March 5.— Civil Code (later, Code Napoléon) decreed. 

34. 1804. March 21.— Due d'Enghien shot at Vincennes. 

34. 1804. May 18. — Napoleon, Empereur des Français; crowned 2d 

36. 1805. — Ulm campaign ; 25tli September, Napoleon crosses the 
Rhine; 14th October, battle of Elchingen ; 2Uth Oc- 
tober, Mack surrenders Ulm. 

36. 1805. Oct. 21.— Battle of Trafalgar. 

36. 1805. Dec. 2. — Russians and Austrians defeated at Austerlitz. 

86. 1805. Dec. 26. — Treaty of Presburg ; Austria cedes her share of 
Venetian lands to Kingdom of Italy, and the Tyrol to 
Bavaria, which, with Wiirtcmbcrg, is recogni&od as ft 










Feb. 15. — Joseph Bonaparte enters Naples as King. 

June 5. — Louis Bonaparte, King of Holland. 

July 1. — Confederation of the Rhine formed; Napoleon 
protector ; German Empire dissolved 6th August ; 
Francis I. takes title of Francis II. of Austria. 

37. 1806. — Jena campaign with Prussia. Battle of Saalfeld, 10th 
October ; battles of Jena and of Aueratadt, 14th Oc- 
tober ; Berlin occupied, 25th October. 

37. 1806. Nov. 21.— Berlin decrees issued. 

37. 1807. Feb. 8.— Battle of Eylau with Russians, indecinve ; 14th 
June, battle of Friedland, decisive. 

37. 1807. July 7.— Treaty of Tilsit. Prussia partitioned ; Polish 
provinces forming Duchy of Warsaw under Saxony ; 
provinces on left of Elbe, with Hesse Cassel, made 
into Kingdom of Westphalia for Jerome Bonaparte. 

37. 1807. Aug. and Sept. — English expedition against Copenhagen. 

38. 1807. Oct. 27.— Secret treaty of Fontainebleau between France 

and Spain for the partition of Portugal ; Junot enters 
Lisbon, 30th November ; Royal Family withdraw to 

38. 1808. March. — French, under Murat, gradually occupy Spain 

under pretence of march on Portugal ; 2d May, insur- 
rection at Madrid ; 9th May, treaty of Bayonne ; 
Charles IV. of Spain cedes throne ; Joseph Bonaparte 
transferred from Naples to Spain ; replaced at Naples 
by Murat. 

88. 1808. July 22. — Dupont surrenders to Spaniards at Baylen ; thii 
leads to evacuation of Madrid by French. 

39. 1808. Aug. 17. — Wellesley defeats Laborde at Rolica, and Junot 

on at Viniieru ; 30th August, Convention of Cintra 
for evacuation of Portugal by Junot. 

39. 1808. Sept. 27 to Oct. 14.— Conferences at Erfurt between Na- 
poleon, Alexander, and German Sovereigns. 

39. 1808. Nov. and Dec. — Napoleon heat» the Spanish armies ; enter» 
Madrid ; marchoH againnt Mooro, but suddenly returns 
to France to prepare for Austrian campaign. 


Age. Date. Event. 

39. 1809. Jan. 16.— Battle of Corunna. 

39. 1809. — Campaign of Wagram. Austrians advance, 10th April ; 

battle of Abensberg, 20th April ; Eckmuhl, 22d April ; 
Napoleon ocoupies Vienna, 13th May ; beaten back at 
Essling, 22d May ; finally crosses Danube, ith July, 
and defeats Austrians at Wagram, Gth July ; Armis- 
tice of Znedm, 12th July. 

40. 1809. Oct. 14. — Treaty of Schœnbrunn or of Vienna ; Austria 

cedes Istria, Carinthia, etc., to France, and Salzburg 
to Bavaria. 

40. 1809. Dec. 15-16.— Josephine divorced. 

40. 1810. April 1 and 2. — Marriage of Napoleon, aged 40, with Marie 
Louise, aged 18-,^^-. 

40. 1810. July 3. — Louis Bonaparte abdicates crown of HoUand, 

which is annexed to French Empire on 9th July. 

41. 1810. Dec. 13. — Hanseatic towns and all northern coast of Ger- 

many annexed to French Empire. 

41. 1811. March 20. — The King of Rome, son of Napoleon, born. 

42-43. 1812L June 23. — War with Russia; Napoleon crosses the Nié- 
men ; 7th September, battle of Moskwa or Borodino ; 
Napoleon enters Moscow, 14th September ; commences 
his retreat, 19th October. 

43. 1812. Oct. 22-23.— Conspiration of General Malet at Paris. 

43. 1813. Nov. 26-28. — Passage of the Beresina ; 5th December, Na- 
poleon leaves his army; arrives at Paris, 18th De- 

43-44. 1813. — Leipsic campaign. 2d May, Napoleon defeats Russians 
and Prussians at Lutzen ; and again on 20-21st May 
at Bautzen ; (21 st June, battle of Vittoria, Joseph de- 
cisively defeated by Wellington) ; 26th June, inter- 
view of Napoleon and Metternich at Dresden ; 10th 
August, midnight, Austria joins the allies ; 2(>-27th 
August, Napoleon defeats allies at Dresden, but Van- 
damme is routed at Kulm on 3Uth August, and on 16th- 
19th October, Napoleon is beaten at Leipsic ; 30th 
October, Napoleon sweeps Bavarians from his path at 


Age. Date. Event. 

44. 1814. — Allies advance into France ; 29th January, battle of 
Brienne ; 1st February, battle of La Rothiëre. 

44. 1814. Feb. 5 to March 18. —Conferences of Chatillon (sur Seine). 

44. 1814 Feb. 11.— Battle of MontmiraH ; 14th February, of Vau- 
champs ; 18th February, of Montereau. 

44. 1814. Feb. 23-24 —Wellington crosses the Adour, and beats 
Soult at Orthes on 27th February. 

44. 1814. March 7.— Battle of Craon; 9th-l 0th March, Laon; 20tH 
March, Arcis sur TAube. 

44. 1814. March 21. — Napoleon commences his march to throw him- 
self on the communications of the allies ; 25th March, 
allies commence their march on Paris ; Battle of 
La Fere Champenoise, Marmont and Mortier beat- 
en ; 28th March, Napoleon turns back at St. Dizier 
to follow allies ; 29th March, Empress and Court leave 

44. 1814. March 30.— Paris capitulates ; Allied Sovereigns enter on 
31st March. 

44. 1814. April 2. —Senate declare the dethronement of Napoleon, 
who abdicates, conditionally, on 4th April in favour of 
his son, and unconditionally on 6th April ; Marmont's 
corps marches into the enemy's lines on 5th April ; 
on 1 1th April Napoleon signs the treaty giving him 
Elba for life ; 20th April, Napoleon takes leave of the 
Guard at Fontainebleau ; 3d May, Louis XVIIL enters 
Paris ; 4th May, Napoleon lands in Elba. 

44. 1814. May 30.— First Treaty of Paris; France restricted to limits 

of 1792, with some slight additions, part of Savoy, etc. 

45. 1814. October 3.— Congress of Vienna meets for settlement of 

Europe ; actually opens 3d November. 

45. 1815. Feb. 20.— Napoleon quits Elba; lands near Cannes, Is* 
March ; 19th March, Louis XVIII. leaves Paris about 
midnight ; 20th March, Napoleon enters Paris. 

45. 1815. 16th June.— Battle of Ligny and Quatre Bras ; ISth June, 
Battle of Waterloo. 

45-46. 1815. June 29.— Napoleon Icavcîs Malni.iiHon for Rochefort ; sur- 
renders to KngliMli, ir>th July; «ails for St. Helena, 
8th AugHHt ; arrives at St. Helena, 15th October. 


Agb. Datk. EvtNT. 

46. 1815. Nov. 20.— Second Treaty of Paris ; France restricted to 
limits of 1790; losing Savoy, etc., pays an indemnity, 
and receives an army of occupation. 

51yr8. 8mths. 1821. May 5.— Napoleon dies 5.45 p.m. ; buried 8th May. 

1840. Oct. 15.— Body of Xapoleon disentombed ; embarked in 
the Belle Poule, commanded by the Prince de Joinville, 
Bon of Louis Philippe, on Ibth October ; placed in the 
Invalides 15th December ISiO. 


The Editor of the 1836 edition had added to the Memoirs, 
several chapters taken from or founded on other works of the 
time, 80 as to make a more complete history of the period. 
These materials have been mostly retained, but with the cor- 
rections which later publications have made necessary. A 
chapter has now been added to give a brief account of the 
part played by the chief historical personages during the Cent 
Jours, and another at the end to include the removal of the 
body of Napoleon from St. Helena to France. 

Two special improvements have, it is hoped, been made in 
this edition. Great care has been taken to get names, dates, 
and figures rightly given, — points much neglected in most 
translations, though in some few cases, such as Davoust, the 
ordinary but not strictly correct spelling has been followed to 
suit the general reader. The number of references to other 
works which are given in the notes unll, it is believed, be of 
use to any one wishing to continue the study of the history of 
Napoleon, and may preserve them from many of the errors 
too often committed. The present Editor has had the great 
advantage of having htsioork shared by Mr. Richard Boitley, 
who has brought his knowledge of the period to bear, and 
who has found, as only a busy man could do, the time to 
minutely enter into every fresh detail, with the ardour which 
soon seizes any one who long follows that enticing j^'^^'r^^f-it, — 
the special study of an historical period» 

R. W, P. 

January 188ft. 





Authentic date of Bonaparte's birth— His family ruined by the Jesuits— 
His taste for military amusements — Sham siege at the College of 
Brienne— The porter's wife and Napoleon— My intimacy with Bona- 
parte at college — His love for the mathematics, and his dislike of 
Latin— He defends Paoli and blames his father— He is ridiculed by 
his comrades — Ignorance of the monks — Distribution of prizes at 
Brienne— Madame de Montesson and the Duke of Orleans— Report of 
M. Kéralio on Bonaparte — He leaves Brienne. 

Napoleon Bonaparte was born at Ajaccio, in Corsica, 
on the 15th of August 17G9 ; ' tlie original orthography 
of his name was Buonaparte, but he suppressed the u 
during his first campaign in Italy. His motives for so 

> Tho quostion as to the date of Napoleon's birth is fully gone into iu Colonel lung's 
work. lionaparte et Son Temps (tome i. pp. SU-fri), from which tho following sum- 
mary is miule. The first two children of Charles Bonaparte— a son born in 1T()5, and 
a daiiglitcr born 1ÎGT — both died young. A third child, a sun, was born on 7th Jan- 
uary 17(;h. at Cortc ; and a fourth child, also a son, was burn on 15th August ITdl) 
at Aja<;cio. There iu no doubt as to these dates, or us to Jose|)h and Napoleon being 
the two sons bo born ; the question is, was Napoleon the «ecoml or first of these two? 
By the copy of an " Acte de Naissance" preserved in tho French War Olllce, the child 
born on 7th January 17<»8 was bai)tized " Nahitllone.'''' In the archives uf Ajaccio. a 
«•f>py of a non existing original record of Imptism gives th<i name of tiio child then 
hum tiH " Jiineph NdhiiUaiiy Hy the ofTlciid n-cords of Corsica, .V(j;jo/*f;«c Bona- 
jjarie, born Ifith August 17(>!>, was baptized tilst July 1771. (Jolonel lung inclines to 
tho beliof that Nai>oU!on waa born on 7th January 17r>8 at Corte, and Joseph on l.'ith 
August 1701). He suggests that when, in 1778, Charles Bonaparte obtained i)ermis- 
Bion f<»r one son to enter Brienne at the cost of tho SlaU;. finding that the ago of tlio 
child muHt be under ten yearn, and Napoleon, Iho sou chohcn to «nter, bein^ really 


doing were merely to render the spelling conformable 
with the pronunciation, and to abridge his signature. He 
signed Buonaparte even after the famous 13th Vendé- 

It has been affirmed that he was born in 1768, and that 
he represented himself to be a year younger than he 
really was. This is untrue. He always told me the 9th 
of August was his birthday, and as I was born on the 9th 
of July 1769, our proximity of age served to strengthen 
our union and friendship when we were both at the Mili- 
tary College of Brienne. 

The false and absurd charge of Bonaparte having mis- 
represented his age, is decidedly refuted by a note in the 
register of M. Berton, sub-principal of the College of 
Brienne, in which it is stated that M. Napoléon de Buona- 
parte, écuyer, born in the city of Ajaccio, in Corsica, on 
the 15th of August 1769, left the Eoyal Military College 
of Brienne on the 17th October 1784. 

over the age, he used the baptismal record of the second son for the first Napoleon. 
To support this theorj-, he throws doubt on the copy preperved in Ajaccio, saying 
that the name Joneph is given in the French form at the time the French language 
was not used in Corsica. In 1794, when Joseph married, the witnesses brought to 
prove bis age and place of birth, because the records could not be then got at, testi- 
fied that Joseph, aged about 25, was born at Ajaccio, that is, at t"he place where the 
son was twm on 15th August 1769. But nothing seems really proved, except that, 
whether by error or fraud, the Bonapartop were unfortunate in their dates, and were 
fond of giving the same name to child after child. Thus there were several Marie- 
Annes. In the marriage-contract of 2s'aiK)leon with Josephine, his date of birth is 
given as 5th February 17fiS. while she, really born on 2."Jd July 1763, is stated to 
have been born on 23d June 1767, the ages of the pair being thus made to approxi- 
mate, instead of a real difference of at least five years. Even in Napoleon's name the 
greatest uncertainty appears to have prevailed. It figures in the different docu- 
ments as Nabuiione, Napoleone, Napolœone, Napolione, and, on the Vendôme col- 
umn, a:i •' Neapolio. im Aug." It will be noticed that the document given by Bour- 
rienne and the statements of Najwleon to him really prove little or nothing, an if 
once the date of his birth had been altered to a wrong date, it would have been 
necessary to adhere to the alteration. But, on the whole, allowing for all the confu- 
sion of the time and of his family affairs, it seems safest to adhere to the date of 15th 
August 17r.9. 

[Another reason for the change of date might be the wish to appear by birth a 
Trench citizen, Corsica not having been amiexed to France until June 1769.— See 
NoUi arid Q't^iHes, Ist Series, vol. vi. p. 265 ; albo (/uarlerl!/ lieview. No. 23, vaA 
Boaie buccecdiug nmnbcrti.J 

* V, 






The stories about his low extraction are alike devoid of 
foundation. His family was poor, and he was educated 
at the public expense, an advantage of which many hon- 
ourable families availed themselves. A memorial ad- 
dressed by his father, Charles Buonaparte, to the Minister 
of War states that his fortune had been reduced by the 
failure of some enterprise in which he had engaged, and 
by the injustice of the Jesuits, by whom he had been de- 
prived of an inheritance. The object of this memorial 
was to solicit a sub-lieutenant's commission for Napoleon, 
who was then fourteen years of age, and to get Lucien 
entered a pupil of the Mihtary College. The Minister 
•VNTote on the back of the memorial, " Give the usual 
answer, if there be a vacancy ; " and on the margin are 
these words — "This gentleman has been informed that his 
request is inadmissible as long as his second son remains 
at the school of Brienne. Two brothers cannot be placed 
at the same time in the militaiy schools." When Napo- 
leon was fifteen he was sent to Paris until he should attain 
the requisite age for entering the army. Lucien was not 
received into the College of Brienne, at least not until his 
brother had quitted the Military School of Paris. 

Bonaparte was undoubtedly a man of good family. I 
have seen an authentic account of his genealogy, which he 
obtained from Tuscany. A great deal has been said about 
the civil dissensions which forced his family to quit Italy 
and take refuge in Corsica. On this subject I shall say 

Many and various accounts have been given of Bona- 
parte's youth.' He has been described in terms of en- 

> The following intcreHtlnpf trait of Napoleon's childhood is derived from the Mem- 
oirn of the Durfiense tTAltrantèH : — " He wuh one day at-cused by one of hiH sisters of 
having ciatcii a IxiKkctf ul of prapes, flRH, and citron», which had cotne from the pardt-n 
of htn unrU the C<in<in. None but those who wore ac<iiinintod with the Bonaparte 
family can form any idea of the enormity of this olTcnco. To eat fruit beloii^'intf 
to the unrle t/i« Canon was innniU-ly more criminal than t<i eat «rapos and f\u» which 
ini^ht be claimed by anybody else. A;i Inquiry took place. Napoleon denied tho 
fact, uud wttu wUii)iicd. Uo wub told tliut if he would beg purdou Uo uLould bu for. 


thiisiastic praise and exaggerated condemnation. It is 
ever thus with individuals who by talent or favourable 
circumstances are raised above their fellow-creatures. 
Bonaparte himself laughed at all the stories which were 
got up for the purpose of embellishing or blackening his 
character in early life. An anonymous publication, en- 
titled the History of Napoleon Bonaparte, fj-om his Birth to 
his last Abdication, contains perhaps the greatest collection 
of false and ridiculous details about his boj'hood. Among 
other things, it is stated that he fortified a garden to 
protect himself from the attacks of his comrades, who, a 
few lines lower down, are described as treating him with 
esteem and respect. I remember the circumstances which, 
probably, gave rise to the fabrication inserted in the work 
just mentioned ; they were as follows. 

During the winter of 1783-84, so memorable for heavy 
falls of snow, Napoleon was greatly at a loss for those 
retired walks and outdoor recreations in which he used to 
take much delight. He had no alternative but to mingle 
with his comrades, and, for exercise, to walk with them 
up and down a spacious hall. Napoleon, weary of this 
monotonous promenade, told his comrades that he thought 
they might amuse themselves much better with the snow, 
in the great courtyard, if they would get shovels and make 
hornworks, dig trenches, raise parapets, cavaliers, etc. 
"This being done," said he, '* we may divide ourselves 
into sections, form a siege, and I will undertake to direct 
the attacks." The proposal, which was received with 

giv( n. He prott^sted that he was innocent, but he was not believed. If I recollect 
rifîhtly, his mother was at the time on a visit to M. de Marbeiif, or wmie other friend. 
The result of Napoleon's obstinacy was, that he was kept three whole days upon 
bread and cheese, and that cheese was not broccio. However, he would not cry : he 
was dull, but not sulky. At length, on the fourth day of his punishment, a little 
friend of Marianne Bonaparte returned from the country, and on hearing of Na- 
poleon's disf^race she confessed that she and Marianne had eaten the fruit. It was 
now Marianne's turn to be punished. When Napoleon was asked why he had not 
accused his sister, he replied that though he suspected that she was guilty, \et out 
of consideration to her little fricTid, who had no share in the falsehood, he had eaid 
nothing. He was then only se, en year!» of age " (vol. i. p. 'J, edit. 18t>3). 


enthusiasm, was immediately put into execution. This 
little sham war was carried on for the space of a fortnight, 
and did not cease until a quantity of gravel and small 
stones having got mixed with the snow of which we made 
our bullets, many of the combatants, besiegers as well as 
besieged, were seriously wounded. I well remember that I 
was one of the worst sufferers from this sort of grapeshotfire. 

It is almost unnecessary to contradict the story about 
the ascent in the balloon. It is now very well known that 
the hero of that headlong adventure was not young Bona- 
parte, as has been alleged, but one of his comrades, Dudont 
de Chambon, who was somewhat eccentric. Of this his 
subsequent conduct afforded sufficient proofs. 

Bonaparte's mind was directed to objects of a totally 
different kind. He turned his attention to political sci- 
ence. During some of his vacations he enjoyed the society 
of the Abbe Raynal, who used to converse with him on 
government, legislation, commercial relations, etc. 

On festival days, when the inhabitants of Brienne were 
admitted to our amusements, posts were established for 
the maintenance of order. Nobody was permitted to enter 
the interior of the building without a card signed by the 
principal or vice-principal. The rank of officers or sub- 
officers was conferred according to merit ; and Bonaparte 
one day had the command of a post, when the following 
little adventure occurred, which affords an instance of his 
decision of character. 

Tlie wife of the porter of the school,' who was very well 
known, because she used to sell milk, fruit, etc., to the 
pupils, presented herself one Saint Louis day for admit- 
tance to the representation of the Death of Caesar, corrected, 
in which I was to perform the part of Brutus. As the 
woman had no ticket, and insisted on being admitted 

' Thl« woman, named Haute, wan aflcrwanlH placed at Miilniaicon, willi her hu8- 
band. They )K>th <iied aH cuncierKeii uf ikialniaiaun. Thm bhuwH that NapokuD bu<j 
a moiiiory. — lionrrieiuie. 


without one, some disturbance arose. The serjeant of the 
post reported the matter to the officer, Napol3on Bona- 
parte, who in an imperious tone of voice exclaimed : " Send 
away that woman, who comes here with her camp impu- 
dence." This was in 1782. 

Bonaparte and I were eight years of age when our 
friendship commenced. It speedily became very intimate, 
for there was a certain sympathy of heart between us. I 
enjoyed this friendship and intimacy until 1784, when he 
was transferred from the Military College of Brienne to 
that of Paris. I was one among those of his youthful 
comrades who could best accommodate themselves to his 
stem character. His natural reserve, his disposition to 
meditate on the conquest of Corsica, and the impressions 
he had received in childhood respecting the misfortunes 
of his country and his family, led him to seek retirement, 
and rendered his general demeanour, though in appear- 
ance only, somewhat unpleasing. Our equality of age 
brought us together in the classes of the mathematics and 
belles lettres. His ardent wish to acquire knowledge was 
remarkable from the very commencement of his studies. 
"When he first came to the college he spoke only the Corsi- 
can dialect, and the Sieur Dupuis, ' who was vice-principal 
before Father Berton, gave him instructions in the French 
language. In this he made such rapid progress that in a 
short time he commenced the first rudiments of Latin. 
But to this study he evinced such a repugnance that at 
the age of fifteen he was not out of the fourth class. There 
I left him very speedily ; but I could never get before 
him in the mathematical class, in which he was undoubted- 
ly the cleverest lad at the college. I used sometimes to 
help him with his Latin themes and versions in return for 
the aid he afïorded me in the solution of problems, at 
which he evinced a degree of readiness and facility which 
perfectly astonished me. 

* He afterwards fillc<i the iwwt of librarian to Napoleon at Malmaiaon. 


When at Brienne, Bonaparte was remarkable for the 
dark color of his complexion (which, subsequently, the 
climate of France somewhat changed), for his piercing 
and scrutinising glance,* and for the style of his conversa- 
tion both with his masters and comrades. His conversation 
almost always bore the appearance of ill-humour, and he 
was certainly not very amiable. This I attribute to the 
misfortunes his family had sustained and the impressions 
made on his mind by the conquest of his country. 

The pupils were invited by turns to dine with Father 
Berton, the head of the school. One day, it being Bona- 
parte's turn to enjoy this indulgence, some of the profes- 
sors who were at table designedly made some disrespectful 
remarks on Paoli, of whom they knew the j'oung Corsican 
was an enthusiastic admirer. "Paoli," observed Bona- 
parte, " was a great man ; he loved his country ; and I 
will never forgive my father, who was his adjutant, for 
having concurred in the union of Corsica with France. 
He ought to have followed Paoli's fortune, and have fallen 
with him." * 

Generally speaking, Bonaparte was not much liked by 
his comrades at Brienne. He was not social with them, 
and rarely took part in their amusements. His country's 
recent submission to France always caused in his mind a 

> The Duchesfio d'Abrantès, speaking of the perKonal characteriatics of Bonaparte 
in yonth and manhood, says, " Savcria told me that Napoleon was never a pretty 
boy, aR Jofieph waR, for example: hin head always appeared too large for his body, 
a defect common to the Bonaparte family. When Napoleon grew up, the peculiar 
charm of his countenance lay in his eye, especially in the mild expression it anaunied 
in his motnent« of kindnesx. Ilia antrer. to be sure, was frightful, and though I am 
no coward, I never could look at him in his fits of rago without shuddering. 
Though his smile was captiviiting, yet the expression of his mouth when disdainful 
or angry could scarcely be seen without terror. But that forehead which seemeil 
formed to bear the crowns of a whole world ; those hands, of which the moat 
coquettish women might liuve tj<'i'n vain, and whoso white skin covered muscles of 
iron ; in short, of all thut r>erK()jml beauty which distinguished Napoleon as a young 
man, no traces were diwiernible in the boy. Saveria s|K)ke truly when she said, that 
of all the children of Signora Lolitlii, the Emjjeror was the one from whom futur» 
greatness whs least to b« prognoRticat<!d " (vol. i. p. 10, edit. 18»i). 

' Joseph Bonaparte, in his Notex <ni Uourri^nné, assorts that their father re» 
mainod faithful to I'aoli Ui the last (/!.'rr««r«, tomo i. p. 23<S). 


painful feeliDg, which estranged him from his schoolfel- 
lows. I, however, was almost his constant companion. 
During play-hours he used to withdraw to the library, 
where he read with deep interest works of history, par- 
ticularly Polybius and Plutarch. He was also fond of 
Arrianus, but did not care much for Quintus Curtius. I 
often went off to play with my comrades, and left him by 
himself in the library. 

The temper of the young Corsican was not improved by 
the teasing he frequently experienced from his comrades, 
who were fond of ridicuUug him about his Christian name 
Napoleon and his country. He often said to me, "I will 
do these French all the mischief I can ; " and when I tried 
to pacify him he would say, " But you do not ridicule me ; 
you like me." 

Father Patrauld, our mathematical professor, was much 
attached to Bonaparte. He was justly proud of him as a 
pupil. The other professors, in whose classes he was not 
distinguished, took little notice of him. He had no taste 
for the study of languages, polite literature, or the arts. 
As there were no indications of his ever becoming a 
scholar, the pedants of the establishment were inclined to 
think him stupid. His superior intelligence was, how- 
ever, sufficiently perceptible, even through the reserve 
under which it was veiled. If the monks to whom the 
superintendence of the establishment was confided had 
understood the organisation of his mind, if thej' had en- 
gaged more able mathematical professors, or if we had 
had any incitement to the study of chemistry, natural 
philosophy, astronomy, etc., I am convinced that Bona- 
parte would have pursued these sciences with all the 
genius and spirit of investigation which he displayed in a 
career, more brilliant it is true, but less useful to man- 
kind. Unfortunately, the monks did not perceive this, 
and were too poor to pay for good masters. However, 
after Bonaparte left the college they found it necessary to 


engage two professors from Paris, otherwise the college 
would have fallen to nothing. These two new professors, 
MM. Darfort and Desponts, finished my education ; and I 
regretted that they did not come sooner. The often-re- 
peated assertion of Bonaparte having received a careful 
education at Brienne is therefore untrue. The monks 
were incapable of giving it him ; and, for my own part, I 
must confess that the extended information of the present 
day is to me a painful contrast with the limited course of 
education I received at the Military College. It is only 
surprising that the establishment should have produced a 
single able man. 

Though Bonaparte had no reason to be satisfied with 
the treatment he received from his comrades, yet he was 
above complaining of it ; and when he had the super- 
vision of any duty which they infringed, he would rather 
go to prison than denounce the criminals. 

I was one day his accomplice in omitting to enforce a 
duty which we were appointed to supervise. He prevailed 
on me to accompany him to prison, where we remained 
three days. We suffered this sort of punishment several 
times, but with less severity. 

In 1783 the Duke of Orleans and Madame de Montesson 
visited Brienne ; and, for upwards of a month, the mag- 
nificent chateau of the Comte de Brienne was a Versailles 
in miniature. The series of brilliant entertainments which 
were given to the august travellers made them almost for- 
get the royal magnificence they had left behind them. 

The Prince and Madame de Montesson expressed a wish 
to preside at the distribution of tlie prizes of our college. 
Bonaparte and I won the prizes in the class of mathe- 
matics, whicli, as I have already observed, was the branch 
of study to whicli ho (^onliiKul his attention, and in which 
}io excelled. When I was c;i11(m1 up for the seventh timo 
Madame de Montesson said to my mother, who had como 
from Sens to be present at the distribution, " Pray, 


madame, crown your son this time ; my hands are 
a- weary." 

There was an inspector of the military schools, whose 
business it was to make an annual report on each pupil, 
whether educated at the public expense or paid for by his 
famil}'. I copied from the report of 1784 a note which 
was probably obtained suiTeptitiously from the "War 
Office. I wanted to purchase the manuscript, but Louis 
Bonaparte bought it. I did not make a copy of the note 
which related to m^^self, because I should naturally have 
felt diffident in making any use of it. It would, however^ 
have served to show how time and circumstances fre- 
quently reversed the distinctions which arise at school or 
college. Judging from the reports of the inspector of 
military schools, young Bonaparte was not, of all the 
pupils at Brienne in 1784, the one most calculated to ex- 
cite prognostics of future greatness and glory. 

The note to which I have just alluded, and which was 
written by M. de Kéralio, then inspector of the military 
schools, describes Bonaparte in the following terms : — 

Inspection of fllilitarn 6fl)opl0, 

Report made for His Majesty by M, de Kéralio, 

M. de BuonaparU {Napoleon), born 15t7i August 1769, Iieiglit Afeet 
10 incJies 10 linss, is in the fourth class, has a good constitution, 
excellent health, character obedient, upright, grateful, conduct vei'y 
regular; has been aUmiys distinguished by his application to mathe- 
matics. He knoîcs histoid and geography very passably. lie is not 
well up in orna'tnenUd studies or in Latin, in irJiich he is only in the 
fourth doss. He will be an excellent sailor. He deserves to be j^assed 
on to tlie Military School of Paris. 

Father Berton, however, opposed Bonaparte's removal 
to Paris, because he had not passed through the fourth 
Latin class, and the regulations required that he should 


be in tlie third. I was informed L/ the vice-principal that 
a report relative to Napoleon was sent from the College of 
Brienne to that of Paris, in which he was described as 
being domineering, imi^erious, and obstinate.^ 

I knew Bonaparte well ; and I think M. de Kéralio's re- 
port of him was exceedingly just, except, perhaps, that he 
might have said he was very ivell as to his progress in his- 
tory and geography, and very backward in Latin ; but cer- 
tainly nothing indicated the probability of his being an 
excellent seaman. He himself had no thought of the 

In consequence of M. de Kéralio's report, Bonaparte 
was transferred to the Military College of Paris, along 
with MM. Montarby de Dampierre, de Castres, de Com- 
minges, and de Laugier de Bellecourt, who were all, like 
him, educated at the public expense, and all, at least, as 
favorably reported. 

Ï Napoleon remained upwards of five years at Brienne, "from April 1779 till the 
latter end of 1784. In 178.3 the Chevalier Kt ralio, sub-inspector of the military 
schools, selected him to pass the year follovvin^ to the military school at Paris, to 
which three of the best scholars were annually sent from each of the twelve pri 
vinclal military schools of France. It is carious as well as satisfactory to know the 
opinion at this time entertained of him by those* who were the best qualified to judge. 
His old master, Leguiile, professor of history at Taris, boasted that, in a list of the 
dift'erent scholars, he had predictc<l his pupil's subscfiucnt career. In fact, to the 
name of Bonaparte the following note is added : " A Corxican by hirlh ami charac- 
ter — he will do Homeihiiig (/ruai, if <i)rn}iMinii.res faronr him.''' Mongc was his in- 
structor in geometry, who also entertained a high opinion of him. M. Bauer, his 
flerman master, was the only one who saw nothing in him, and was surprised at 
being told ho was undergoing his examination for the artillery. — Ifazlitt. 

" Bourriennc is certainly wrong as to Bonaparte having no thought of the navy. 
In a letter of 1784 U) the Minister of War his father says of Napoleon that, " fol- 
lowing the a<lvice of the Comt(; do Marbcuf, he has turned his studies towards tho 
navy ; and so well has he suc<r('eled that he was intendeil by M. de Keralio for tho 
school of Paris, and afterwards for the department of Toulon. Tho retirement of 
the former professor (Kéralio) has changed the fate of my son." It was only on tho 
fiiiiure of his inttMition to get into the navy that his father, on 15th July 1784, ap- 
plied for perinisHJon for hnu to «-nter tlu; artillery ; Napoleon having a horror of tho 
infantry, where he said they did nothing. It was on tho success of this ipplicatiou 
that h<! was allowed to enter the school of Paris {fauy, tome i. pp. ".M-IO.'l). Oddly 
enough, in laU-r years, on :5(/th August 170i, having just succeeiled in geitii g 
himK(î|f reinstated as captain after his absence, overstaying leave, he applied to 
I)aMH into the Artiliurie dt! la Marine. "Tho ai)pli(;ation was judged to be simply 
absurd, and was Illcd with this note, ' 8. U.' («a;** ripoiise)'''' {luny, tomo il. p. SUl). 


'Wliat could have induced Sir Walter Scott to say that 
Bouapaj'te was the pride of the college, that our mathe- 
raatical master was exceedingly fond of him, and that the 
other professors in the different sciences had equal reason 
to be satisfied with him ? "What I have above stated, to- 
gether with the rejDOrt of M. de Kéralio, bear evidence of 
his backwardness in almost every branch of education ex- 
cept mathematics. Neither was it, as Sir Walter affirms, 
his precocious progress in mathematics that occasioned 
him to be removed to Paris. He had attained the proper 
age, and the report of him was favourable, therefore he 
was very naturally included among the number of the five 
who were chosen in 178J:. 

In a biographical account of Bonaparte I have read the 
following anecdote : — When he was fourteen years of age 
he happened to be at a party where some one pronounced 
a high eulogium on Turenne ; and a lady in the company 
observed that he certainly was a great man, but that she 
should like him better if he had not burned the Palatinate. 
" What signifies that,"rephed Bonaparte, '* if it was neces- 
sary to the object he had in view? " 

This is either an anachronism or a mere fabrication. 
Bonaparte was fourteen in the year 1783. . He was then 
at Brienne, where certainly he did not go into company, 
and least of all the company of ladies. 

1784. 18 


Bonaparte enters the Military College of Paris — He urges me to embrace 
the military profession — His report on the state of the Military 
School of Paris — He obtains a commission — I set off for Vienna — Re- 
turn to Paris, where I again meet Bonaparte — His singular plans for 
raising money — Louis XVI. with the red cap on his head — The 10th 
of August — My departure for Stuttgart — Bonaparte goes to Corsica — 
My name inscribed on the list of emigrants — Bonaparte ab the siege 
of Toulon — Le Souper de Beaucaire — Napoleon's mission to Genoa — 
His arrest — His autographical justification — Duroc's first connection 
with Bonaparte. 

BoN.\PARTE was fifteen years and two months old when he 
went to the Military College of Paris/ I accompanied 
him in a carriole as far as Nogent sur Seine, whence the 
coach was to start. We parted with regret, and we did 

1 Madame Junot relates Rome interesting particulars connected with Napoleon's 
first residence in Paris. " My mother's first care," says she, "on arriving in Paris 
wa.H to inquire after Napoleon Bonaparte, He was at that time in the military scliool 
at Paris, having quitted Brienne in the September of the preceding year, Jfy 
uncle Demetrius had met him just after he alighted from the coach which brought 
him to town ; ' And truly,' said my uncle, 'lie had the »ppoarance of a fresh impor- 
tation. I met him in the I'alais itoyal, where he was gaping and staring with wonder 
at everything he saw. He wrtuld have been an excellent subject for sharpers, if, in- 
deed, he had had anything worth taking ! ' My uncle invited him to dine at his 
houHf! ; for though my imcle was a bachelor, ho did not choose to dine at a traiteur 
(the name r<s^rtMr«^eMr was not then introduced). Ho told my mother that Napo- 
leon was very morose. ' I fear,' added he, ' that that young man has more nelf- 
conceit than is sniUible to his condition. When he dined with me he began to de- 
claim violently against the luxury of the yi>ung men of the military school. After a 
little ho turned the converyalion fin Mania, and the present educaticm of the young 
Manitites, drawing a comparison betwe(!n it and the ancient Spartan system of 
education. His observât ioim on this head ho told nu' he intended to embody in a 
memorial to bo présentai! to the Ministor of War. All this, dopmd upon it. will 
bring him umU^r the disidcasure of his comrades, and it will be hu-ky if he escajio 
b(Mng run through.' A few days aflcrwardH my mother saw Napoleon, and then hia 
irritability waa at itu height. He would scarcely bear any ubsurvutiuus, even if 


not meet again till the year 1792. During these eight 
years we maintained an active correspondence ; but so 
little did I anticipate the high destiny which, after his 
elevation, it was affirmed the wonderful qualities of his 
boyhood plainly denoted, that I did not preserve one of 
the letters he wrote to me at that period, but tore them 
up as soon as they were answered. 

I remember, however, that in a letter which I received 
from him about a year after his arrival in Paris he urged 
me to keep my promise of entering the army with him. 
Like him, I had passed through the studies necessary for 
the artillery service ; and in 1787 I went for three months 
to Metz, in order to unite practice with theory. A strange 
Ordinance, which I believe was issued in 1778 by M. de 
Si'gur, required that a man should possess four quarter- 
ings of nobility before he could be qualified to serve his 
king and country as a military officer. My mother went 
to Paris, taking mth her the letters patent of her hus- 
band, who died six weeks after my birth. She proved 
that in the year 1640 Louis XIII. had, by letters patent, 
restored the titles of one Fauvelet de Villemont, who in 
1586 had kept several provinces of Burgundy subject to 

made in his favour, and I am convinced that it is to this nncontroUable irritability 
that he owed the reputation of having been ill-tcinpcred in his boyhood, and splen- 
etic in his youth. My father, who was acquainted with almost all the heads of the 
military school, obtained leave for him sometimes to come out for recreation. On 
account of an accident (a sprain, if I recollect rightly) Napoleon once spent a whole 
week at our house. To this day, whenever I pass the Quai Conti, I cannot help 
looking up at a manncade at the left angle of ihe house on the tliird door. That was 
Kapoleon's chamber when he paid us a visit, and a neat little room it was. ily 
brother used to occui)y the one next to it. The two young men were nearly of the 
same age : my brother perhaps had the advantage of a year or fifteen mouths. My 
mother had recommended him to cultivate the friendship of young Bonaparte ; but 
my brother complained how unpleasant itwas to find only cold politeness where he 
expected affection. This repulsiveness on the part of Nupoleon was almost offen- 
Bive, and must have been sensibly felt by my brother, who was not only remarkable 
for the mildness of his temiier and the amenity and grace of his manner, but whose 
Bociety was courted in the most distinguished circles of Paris on account of his ac- 
complishments. He perceived in Bonai)arte a kind of acerbity and bitter irony, of 
which he long endeavoured to discover the cause. ' I believe,' said Albert one day 
to my mother, • that the poor young man feels keenly his dei)endeut Bituation'" 
lilcmoin of the Duchesse d'Alranléi, vol. i. p. 18, edit. lbS3). 


the king's authority at the peril of his life and the loss of 
his property ; and that his family had occupied the first 
places in the magistracy since the fourteenth century. All 
was correct, but it was observed that the letters of nobil- 
ity had not been registered by the Parliament, and to 
repair this little omission, the sum of twelve thousand 
francs was demanded. This my mother refused to pay, 
and there the matter rested. 

On his arrival at the Military School of Paris, Bona- 
parte found the establishment on so brilHant and expen- 
sive a footing that he immediately addressed a memorial 
on the subject to the Vice-Principal Ber ton of Brienne. ' 
He showed that the plan of education was really perni- 
cious, and far from being calculated to fulfil the object 
which every wise government must have in view. The 
result of the system, he said, was to inspire the pupils, 
who were all the sons of poor gentlemen, with a love of 
ostentation, or rather, with sentiments of vanity and self- 
sufiiciency ; so that, instead of returning happy to the 
bosom of their families, they were likely to be ashamed 
of their parents, and to despise their humble homes. 
Instead of the numerous attendants by whom they were 
surrounded, their dinners of two courses, and their horses 
and grooms, he suggested that they should perform little 
necessary services for themselves, such as brushing their 
clothes, and cleaning their boots and shoes ; that they 
should eat the coarse bread made for soldiers, etc. 
Tempeiance and activity, he added, would render them 
robust, enable them to bear the severity of different 
seasons and climates, to brave the fatigues of war, and to 
inspire the respect and obedience of the soldiers under 

> A Hccond memoir prepared by him to the name effect was intended for the Min- 
ister of War, l»ut Father Berton wÏHely ndviHO<l mlence to the yonnp eudot {lung, 
toino i. p. 122). Although believing in the nceeHsity of show and of mngnificenco m 
public life, Nnpoleon remained true to thene principk-H. While laviHhing wealth on 
hU miniKterK and maiHhidH, "In your |)rivate life." «aid he, "be economical anil 
even purhimoulouH ; In public bo maguitlcent" {Meiicvuly tome 1. p. 14C). 


their command. Thus reasoned Napoleon at the age of 
sixteen, and time showed that he never deviated from 
these principles. The establishment of the military 
school at Fontainebleau is a decided proof of this. 

As Napoleon was an active observer of everything pass- 
ing around him, and pronounced his opinion ojDenly and 
decidedly, he did not remain long at the Military School 
of Paris. His superiors, who were anxious to get rid of 
him, accelerated the period of his examination, and he 
obtained the first vacant sub-lieutenancy in a regiment of 

I left Brienne in 1787, and as I could not enter the 
artillery, I proceeded in the following year to Vienna, 
with a letter of recommendation to M. de Montmorin, 
soliciting employment in the French Embassy at the 
Court of Austria. 

I remained two months at Vienna, where I had the 
honour of twice seeing the Emperor Joseph. The im- 
pression made upon me by his kind reception, his dignified 
and elegant manners, and graceful conversation, will never 
be obliterated from my recollection. After M. de Noailles 
bad initiated me in the first steps of diplomacy, he advised 
me to go to one of the German universities to study the 
law of nations and foreign languages. I accordingly 
repaired to Leipsic, about the time when the French 
Revolution broke out. 

I spent some time at Leipsic, w^here I applied myself to 
the study of the law of nations, and the German and 
English languages. I afterwards travelled through Prussia 
and Poland, and passed a part of the winter of 1791 and 
1792 at Warsaw, where I was m.ost graciously received 
by Princess Tyszicwiez, niece of Stanislaus Augustus, the 
last King of Poland, and the sister of Prince Poniatowski. 
The Princess was very well informed, and was a great 
admirer of French literature. At her invitation I passed 
several evenings in company with the King in a cii'cle 


small enough to approach to something like intimacy. I 
remember that his Majesty frequently asked me to read 
the Moniteur ; the speeches to which he listened with the 
greatest pleasure were those of the Girondists. The 
Princess Tyszicwiez wished to print at Warsaw, at her own 
expense, a translation I had executed of Kotzebue's 
Menschenhass wid Beue, to which I gave the title of 
L'Inconnu." ' 

I arrived at Vienna on the 26th of March 1792, when I 
was informed of the serious illness of the Emperor, 
Leopold n., who died on the following day. In private 
companies, and at public places, I heard vague suspicions 
expressed of his having been poisoned ; but the public, 
who were admitted to the palace to see the body lie in state, 
were soon convinced of the falsehood of these rej^orts. I 
went twice to see the mournful spectacle, and I never 
heard a word which was calculated to confirm the odious 
suspicion, though the spacious hall in which the remains 
of the Emperor were exposed was constantly thronged 
with people. 

In the month of April 1792 I returned to Paris, where I 
again met Bonaparte,'' and our college intimacy was fully 
renewed. I was not very well off, and adversity was hang- 
ing heavily on him ; his resources frequently failed him. 
We passed our time like two young fellows of twenty- 
three who have little money and less occupation. Bona- 
parte was always poorer than I. Every day we conceived 
some new project or other. We were on the look-out 

• A play known on tho English Rtape an The Stranger. 

' Bonaparte is said, on very doubtful authority, to havn ppont five or six weoka 
in London in 1701 or 17!)2, and to havo " lod^i^d in a house in (îeorKo Street, Strand. 
His chief oc(Mi))atioii appeared to bo taking pedestrian exercino in the streets of Lon- 
don — hence iiiw marvellous knowledgi; of the great inetr<)i>i)liH which used to aRton- 
iHh any I'JngliHhinen of distinction who wrjro not .iwiiri' of MiIk visit. He occaHioimlly 
took hiH cup of chocolate at tho ' Northumberland,' occupying himself in reading, 
and premirving a provoking Uiciturnity to Uw. gentlemen in the room; though his 
manner wrh Htnrn, hi» d(!portment was that of a gentleman." Tho ntory of hi« visit 
iH probably an apocryphal an that of his ofTering his HrrvlcoH to tho Rnglish Govcra- 
munt when the English forccu were blockading the coant of Corsica. 

Vol. I.— 2 


for some profitable speculation. At one time he wanted 
me to join him in renting several houses, then building 
in the Eue Montholon, to underlet them afterwai'ds. We 
found the demands of the landlords extravagant — every- 
thing failed. At the same time he was soliciting em- 
ployment at the War Office, and I at the office of Foreign 
Affairs. I was for the moment the luckier of the two. 

W^hile we were spending our time in a somewhat vaga- 
bond way,' the 20Lh of June arrived. We met by ap- 
pointment at a restaurateur's in the Rue St. Honoré, near 
the Palais Eoyal, to take one of our daily rambles. On 
going out we saw approaching, in the direction of the 
market, a mob, which Bonaparte calculated at five or six 
thousand men. They were all in rags, ludicrously armed 
with weapons of every description, and were proceeding 
hastily towards the Tuileries, vociferating all kinds of 
gross abuse. It was a collection of all that was most vile 
and abject in the purlieus of Paris. " Let us follow the 
mob," said Bonaparte. We got the start of them, and 
took up our station on the terrace of the banks of the 
river. It was there that he witnessed the scandalous 
scenes which took place ; and it would be difficult to 
describe the surprise and indignation which they excited 
in him. When the King showed himself at the windows 
overlooking the garden, with the red cap, which one of 
the mob had put on his head, he could no longer repress 
his indignation. " Che coglione ! " he loudly exclaimed. 
*' Why have they let in all that rabble ! They should 
sweep off four or five hundred of them with the cannon ; 
the rest would then set off fast enough." 

AVhen we sat down to dinner, which I paid for, as I 
generally did, for I was the richer of the two, he spoke of 
nothing but the scene we had witnessed. He discussed 

I It wan before the 20th of June that iti our frequent excursions around TariB we 
went to St. Cyr to see his sister Marianne (Elisa). We I'eturned to dine alone at 
Trianon. — Dourrienne. 


with great good sense the causes and consequences of 
this unrepressed insurrection. He foresaw and developed 
with sagacity all that would ensue. He was not mistaken*. 
The 10th of August soon arrived. I was then at Stutt- 
gart, where I was appointed Secretary of Legation. 

At St. Helena Bonaparte said, " On the news of the at- 
tack of the Tuileries, on the 10th of August, I hurried to 
Fauvelet, Bourrienne's brother, who then kept a furniture 
warehouse at the Carrousel." This is partly correct. My 
brother was connected with what was termed an entre- 
prise d'encan national, where persons intending to quit 
France received an advance of money, on depositing any 
effects which they wished to dispose of, and which were 
sold for them immediatel3\ Bonaparte had some time 
previously pledged his watch in this way. 

After the fatal 10th of August Bonaparte went to Corsica, 
and did not return till 1793. Sir Walter Scott says that af- 
ter that time he never saw Corsica again. This is a mistake, 
as will be shown when I speak of his return from Egypt.' 

Having been appointed Secretary of Legation to Stutt- 
gart, I set off for that place on the 2d of August, and I 
did not again see my ardent young friend until 1795. He 
told me that my departure accelerated his for Corsica. 
We separated, as may be supposed, with but faint hopes 
of ever meeting again. 

By a decree of the 28th of March of 1793, all French 
agents abroad were ordered to return to France, within 
three months, under pain of being regarded as emigrants. 
What I had witnessed before my departure for Stuttgart, 

> Sir Walter appears to have collected his information for the Life of Nuiwleoti 
only from thoHc HIkjIh and vulirar Htoriefl which ^'ratitted his calumnious Hpirit and 
national hatred. His work \h writt<!n with excessive ncfflipcncc, which, added to 
its numerous errors, show:- h(jw much nwpect he must have entertained for his read- 
ers. It would appear that his object was to make it the inverse of his iu)velH. where 
cverythim? is borrowed from history. I have been assured that Marshal Macdonald 
having' olTercd \a> introdu(;o Keott to some j^cnerals who could have furni.'^hed him 
with the most accurate information rospectiuK military events, the K'lory of which 
they had shared, Rlr Walter rej)lied, " I thank you, bull bhuU collect my iuformatiou 
from uu)jroIcrthioual reporU»." - //wa/V/e/i/tt*. 


the excitement in which I had left the public mind, and 
the well-known consequences of events of this kind, made 
me fear that I should be compelled to be cither an accom- 
plice or a victim in the disastrous scenes which were pass- 
ing at home. My disobebience of the law placed my 
name on the list of emigrants. 

It has been said of me, in a biographical publication, 
that " it was as remarkable as it was fortunate for Bour- 
rienne that, on his return, he got his name erased from 
the list of emigrants of the department of the Yonne, 
on which it had been inscribed during his first journey to 
Germany. This circumstance has been interpreted in 
several different ways, which are not all equally favourable 
to M. de Bourrienne." 

I do not understand what favourable interpretations can 
be put upon a statement entirely false. General Bona- 
parte repeatedly applied for the erasure of my name, from 
the month of April 1797, when I rejoined him at Leoben, 
to the period of the signature of the treaty of Campo- 
Formio ; but without success. He desired his brother 
Louis, Berthier, Bernadotte, and others, when he sent 
them to the Directory, to urge my erasure ; but in vain. 
He complained of this inattention to his wishes to Bottot, 
when he came to Passeriano, after the 18th Fructidor. 
Bottot, who was secretary to Barras, was astonished that 
I was not erased, and he made fine promises of what he 
would do. On his return to France he wrote to Bona- 
parte: "Bourrienne is erased." But this was untrue. I 
was not erased until November 1797, upon the reiterated 
solicitations of General Bonaparte. 

It was during my absence from France that Bonaparte, 
in the rank of chef de bataillon, performed his first campaign, 
and contributed so materially to the recapture of Toulon. 
Of this period of his life I have no personal knowledge, 
and therefore I shall not speak of it as an eye-witness. I 
shall merely relate some facts which fill up the interval be* 


tween 1793 and 1795, and wliich I have collected from pa- 
pers which he himself delivered to me. Among these papers 
is a little production, entitled Le Souper de Beaucaire, the 
copies of which he bought up at considerable expense, and 
destroyed upon his attaining the Consulate. This little 
pamphlet contains principles very opposite to those he 
wished to see established in 1800, a period when extrava- 
gant ideas of liberty were no longer the fashion, and when 
Bonaparte entered upon a system totally the reverse of 
those republican principles professed in Le Souper de 
Beaucaire.^ It may be remarked, that in all that has come 
to us from St. Helena, not a word is said of this youthful 
production. Its character sufficiently explains this silence. 
In all Bonaparte's writings posterity will probably trace 
the profound politician rather than the enthusiastic revo- 

Some documents relative to Bonaparte's suspension and 
arrest, by order of the representatives Albitte and Salicetti, 

1 This is not, as Sir Walter says, a dialogue between Marat and a Federalist, but a 
conversation between a military officer, a native of Nisnies, a native of Marseilles, 
and a manufacturer from Montpellier. The latter, though he takes a share in the 
conversation, does not say much. Le Souper de Bemicaire is given at full length in 
the French edition of these Memoirs, tome i. i)p. 319-347 ; and by Tung, tome ii. p. 
354, with the following remarks : " The first edition of Le Souper de Beaucaire waa 
issued at the cost of the Public Treasury, in August 1TV)3. Sabin Tournai, its 
editor, also then edited the Courrier d'Avignon. The second edition only appeared 
twenty-eight years afterwards, in IS'il, preceded by an introduction by Frederick 
Royou (Paris : Brasseur Ainr, printer, Terrey, publisher, in octavo). This j)amphlet 
did not make any sensation at the time it appeanui. It was only when Napoleon 
became Commandant of the Army of Italy th:it M. Loubet, secretary and corrector 
of the press for M. Tournai, attached some value to the manuscript, and showed it to 
Bcveral persons. Louis Bonaparte, later, ordered several copies from M. Aurel." 
The pamphlet, dated 2!>th July 171)3. is in tbe form of a dialogue between an olTleer 
of the army, a citi/.cn of Nisnies, a manufacturer of Montpellier, and a citizen of 
Marseilles. Marseilles was thisn in a states '«f insurrection against the Convention, 
lu forr;es had «eizeil Avignon, but had wen driven out by the army of Cartttiux, 
TThich was about to attack Marseilles itself. In the dialogue the ofllccr nives njost 
excellent military advice to the mitresentativo of Marseilles on the impossibility of 
their resisting the old soldiiTs of Carteuiix. The .Marsj-illes citizen argues l)ut 
feebly, and is alarmed at the oIUcit's n-presentations ; while his tlireat to call in the 
Spaniards turns the other speakers against )iim. Even (Colonel Inng says, tome ii. 
p. 372, " In these concise jn<lgm<-nts is felt the decinion of the masicr and of the nnm 
of war. . . . TheMO marvellous (puilitief «onseqnently struck the members ot 
thu CuDTention, who maUo much uf Boniii>artc, uulhorirtu«l him U> have it publibhud 


serve to place in their true light circumstances which have 
hitherto been misrepresented. I shall enter into some 
details of this event, because I have seen it stated that this 
circumstance of Bonaparte's life has been perverted and 
misrepresented by every person who has hitherto written 
about him ; and the writer who makes this remark, himself 
describes the affair incorrectly and vaguely. Others have 
attributed Bonaparte's misfortune to a military discussion 
on war, and his connection with Robespierre the younger.^ 

It has, moreover, been said that Albitte and Salicetti 
explained to the Committee of Public Safety the impossi- 
bility of their resuming the military operations unaided by 
the talents of General Bonaparte. This is mere flattery. 
The facts are these : — 

On the 13th of July 1794 (25th Messidor, year n.), the 
representatives of the people with the army of Italy ordered 
that General Bonaparte should proceed to Genoa, there, 
conjointly with the French charge d'affaires, to confer on 
certain subjects with the Genoese Government. This 
mission, together with a list of secret instructions, direct- 
ing him to examine the fortresses of Genoa and the neigh- 
bouriug country, show the confidence which Bonaparte, 
who was then only twenty-five, inspired in men who were 
deeply interested in making a prudent choice of their 

Bonaparte set off for Genoa, and fulfilled his mission. 
The 9th Thermidor arrived, and the deputies, called Terror- 
ists, were superseded by Albitte and Salicetti. In the 
disorder which then prevailed they were either ignorant of 

at the public expense, and made him many promises." Lanfrey, vol. i. pp. 30-31, 
Fays of tliis pamphlet, " Common enotifjh ideas, expressed in a style only remarkable 
for its ' Italiani^ms,' but becomiutj singularly firm and precise every time the author 
expresses his military views. Under an apparent roughness, we find in it a rare 
circumspection, leaving no hold on the writer, even if events change." 

' It will presently be seen that all this is erroneour^, and that Sir Walter eoramita 
another mistake when he says that Bonaparte's connection with Robespierre was 
attended with fatal consequences to him, and that his justification consisted iu 
afknowled'-cing that liis friends were very different from what he had supposed them 
lo h&.—liourrienne^ 


the orders given to General Bonaparte, or persons envious 
of the rising glor}' of the young general of artillery inspired 
Albitte and Salicetti with suspicions prejudicial to him. Be 
this as it may, the two representatives drew up a resolution, 
ordering that General Bonaparte should be arrested, sus- 
pended from his rank, and arraigned before the Committee 
of Public Safety; and, extraordinary as it may appear, this 
resolution was founded on that very journey to Genoa 
which Bonaparte executed by the direction of the repre- 
sentatives of the people.' 

Bonaparte said at St. Helena that he was a short time 

^ Madame Junot throws some light on this persecution of Bonaparte by Salicetti. 
" One motive (I do not mean to say the only one)," remarks this lady, "of the 
animosity shown by Salicetti to B;)napurte, in the affair of Loano, was that they 
were at one time suitors to the same lady. I am not sure whether it was in Corsica 
or in Paris, but I know for a fact tliat Bonaparte, in spite of his youth, or perhaps 
I should rather say on account of his youth, was the favoured lover. It was the 
opinion of my brother, who was secretary to Salicetti, that Bonaparte owed his 
life to a circumstance which is not very well known. The fact is, that Salicetti 
received a letter from Bonaparte, the contents of which appeared to make a deep 
impression on him. Bonaparte's papers had been delivered into Salicetti's hands, 
who, after an attentive perusal of them, laid them aside with evident dissatisfac- 
tion. He then took them up again, and read them a second time. Salicetti 
declined my brother's assistance in the examination of the papers, and after a 
second examination, which was probably as unsatisfactory as the first, he seated 
himself with a very abstracted air. It would api)ear that he had seen among tho 
papers some document which concerned himself. Another curious fact is, that the 
man who had the care of the i)apers after they were sealed up was an inferior clerk 
entirely under the control of Salicetti ; and my brother, whose business it was to 
have charge of the papers, was directed not to touch them. He has often spoken 
to me of this circumstance, and I mention it here as one of importance to the history 
of the time. Nothing that relates to a man like Napoleon can bo considered useless 
or trival. 

" What, after all, was the result of this strant,'e business which might have cost 
Boriajiarte his head ?— for, had he been taken to Paris and tried by the Committee 
at Public Safety, thcjre is little (loul)t that the friend of Robesi)ierre the younger 
wouM have been ccmdemncd by Billaud-Varcnnes and Collot d'llerbois. Tho result 
was the acquittal of the accused. This result is tho more extraordinary, since it 
would appear that at that time Saliiiitti slxjod in fear of the young general. A 
coinpliinoiit is even paid to Bonaparte in tho decree, by which he was provisionally 
restored to liberty. That liberation was said to be granted on the considtTatiou that 
f}i!ncr!il Bonaparte might be uscful to the Ilepublic. This was foresight ; but pubso- 
qncntly when measures wore taken whicli nauiored Honapart(! uo longer an object 
of fear, his name was uraned from the list of general ofllcers, and it is a curiouH fact 
that CambactTi'-M, who wa/H deslitUMl to be his colleague in tho Consulate;, waa 
one of the persons who slgntid tlu! act of crasuro " {Alemoira o/ tke iJuc/iessa 
d'Abranli'b, vol. i. p. G'J, edit. Ibti3). 


imprisoned l)y order of the representative Laporte ; but 
the order for his arrest was signed by Albitte, SaUcetti, 
and Laporte/ Laporte was not probably the most influ- 
ential of the three, for Bonaparte did not address his re- 
monstrance to him. He was a fortnight under arrest. 

Had the circumstance occurred three weeks earlier, and 
had Bonaparte been arraigned before the Committee of 
Public Safety previous to the 9th Thermidor, there is 
every probability that his career would have been at an 
end ; and we should have seen perish on the scaffold, at 
the age of twenty-five, the man who, during the twenty- 
five succeeding years, was destined to astonish the world 
by his vast conceptions, his gigantic j^rojects, his great 
military genius, his extraordinary good fortune, his faults, 
reverses, and final misfortunes. 

It is w^orth while to remark that in the post-Thermidor- 
ian resolution just alluded to no mention is made of Bo- 
naparte's association with Kobespierre the younger. The 
severity with which he was treated is the more astonishing, 
since his mission to Genoa was the alleged cause of it. 
Was there any other charge against him, or had calumny 
triumphed over the services he had rendered to his country? 
I have frequently conversed with him on the subject of 
this adventure, and he invariably assured me that he had 
nothing to reproach himself with, and tliat his defence, 
which I shall subjoin, contained the pure expression of 
his sentiments, and the exact truth. 

Li the following note, which he addressed to Albitte 
and Salicetti, he makes no mention of Laporte. The copy 
which I possess is in the handwriting of Junot, with cor- 
rections in the General's hand. It exhibits all the charac- 
teristics of Napoleon's writing : his short sentences, his 
abrupt i-nther than concise style, sometimes his el^vpted 
ideas, and always his plain good sense. 

> Albitte and Laporte were tlie representatives sent from the Convention to the 
»rmy of tho AlpH, and Siilicetli to the army of Italy. 


To THE Representatives Albitte and Salicetti. 

You have suspended me from my duties, put me under arrest, 
and declared me to be suspected. 

Thus I am disgraced before being judged, or indeed judged be- 
fore being heard. 

In a revolutionary state there are two classes, the suspected and 
the patriots. 

When the first are accused, general measures are adopted towards 
them for the sake of security. 

The oppression of the second class is a blow to public liberty. 
The magistrate cannot condemn until after the fullest evidence 
and a succession of facts. This leaves nothing to arbitrary deci- 

To declare a patriot suspected is to deprive him of all that he 
most highly values — confidence and esteem. 

In what class am I placed ? 

Since the commencement of the Revolution, have I not always 
been attached to its principles ? 

Have I not always been contending either with domestic enemies 
or foreign foes ? 

I sacrificed my home, abandoned my property, and lost every- 
thing for the Republic ? 

I have since served with some distinction at Toulon, and earned 
a part of the laurels of the army of Italy at the taking of Saorgio, 
Oneille, and Tanaro. 

On the discovery of Robespierre's conspiracy, my conduct was 
that of a man accustomed to look only to principles. 

My claim to the title of patriot, therefore cannot be disputed. 

Why, then, am I declared suspected without being heard, and 
arrested eiglit days after I heard the news of the tyrant's death ? 

I am declared suspected, and my papers are placed under seal. 

Tlie reverse of this course ought to have been adopted. My papers 
should first liave been sealed ; then I sliould liave been called on 
for my explanation ; and, lastly, declared suspected, if there was 
reason for coining to such a decision. 

It is wished that I should go to Paris with an order which declares 
me suspected. It will naturally be presumed that the representa- 
tives did not draw up this decree without accurate information, and 
I sluiU be judged with tlie bias whicli a man »f that class merits. 

Thougl) a patriot and an innocent aiul calumniated man, yet 
whatever measures may be adopted by the Conuuitteo I cannot com- 


If three men declare that I have committed a crime, I cannot 
complain of the jury who condemns me. 

Salicetti, you know me ; and I ask whether you have observed 
anything in my conduct for the last five years which can afford 
ground of suspicion ? 

Aibitte, you do not know me ; but you have received proof of 
no fact against me ; you have not heard me, and you know how 
artfully the tongue of calumny sometimes works. 

Must I then be confounded with the enemies of my conntry ? 
and ought the patriots inconsiderately to sacrifice a general who 
has not been useless to the Republic ? Ought the representatives 
to reduce the Government to the necessity of being unjust and im- 
politic ? 

Hear me ; destroy the oppression that overwhelms me, and re- 
store me to the esteem of the patriots. 

An hour after, if my enemies wish for my life, let them take it 
I have often given proofs how little I value it. Nothing but the 
thought that I may yet be useful to my country makes me bear the 
burden of existence with courage. 

It appears that this defence, which is remarkable for its 
energetic simpHcity, produced an effect on Aibitte and 
Salicetti. Inquiries more accurate, and probably more 
favourable to the General, were instituted ; and on the 3d 
Fructidor (20th August 1794) the rej^resentatives of the 
people drew up a decree stating that, after a careful ex- 
amination of General Bonaparte's papers, nnd of the 
orders he had received relative to his mission to Genoa, 
they saw nothing to justify any suspicion of his conduct ; 
and that, moreover, taking into consideration the advan- 
tage that might accrue to the Eepublic from the military 
talents of the said General Bonaparte, it was resolved that 
he should be provisionally set at liberty.^ 

1 With reference to the arrest of Bonaparte (which lasted thirteen days) see Bour- 
rienrie et ses Erreurs, tome i. pp. lG-28, and Tung, tome ii. \^\^. 4-13-457. Both, in 
©pposition to Bourriennc, attribute ihe arrest to his connection with the younger 
Robespierre. Apparently Aibitte and Salicetti •were not acquainted with the secret 
plan of campaifîn prepared by the younger Robespierre and by Bonaparte, or with 
the real instructions given for the mission to Genoa. Jealousy between the repre- 
sentatives in the staff of the army of the Alps and those with the army of Italy, 
with which Napoleon was, also played a part in the affair. lung looks on Salicetti 
as actini,' as the protector of ttie Bonapartcs ; but Napoleon does not eeem to hare 


Salicetti afterwards became the friend and confidant of 
young Bonaparte ; but their intimacy did not continue 
after his elevation. 

What is to be thought of the motives for Bonaparte's 
arrest and provisional liberation, when his innocence and 
the error that had been committed were acknowledged ? 
The importance of the General's military talents, though 
no mention is made about the impossibility of dispensing 
with them, is a pretence for restoring him to that liberty 
of which he had been unjustly deprived. 

It was not at Toulon, as has been stated, that Bonaparte 
took Duroc ' into the artillery, and made him his aide de 
camp. The acquaintance was formed at a subsequent 
period, in Italy. Duroc's cold character and unexcursive 
mind suited Napoleon, whose confidence he enjoyed until 
his death, and who entrusted him with missions perhaps 
above his abilities. At St. Helena Bonaparte often declared 
that he was much attached to Duroc. I believe this to be 
true ; but I know that the attachment was not returned. 
The ingratitude of princes is proverbial. May it not 
happen that courtiers are also sometimes ungrateful ? ^ 

regarded him in that light ; snc the letter given in Jtinot, vol. 1. p. 106, where in 
1795 he takes credit for not returning the ill done to him ; see also the same volume, 
p. 89. Salicetti eventually became Minister of Police to Joseph, when King of 
Naples, in ISOfi ; but when he applied to return to France, Napoleon said to Mathieu 
Dumas, " Let him know that I am not powerful enough to protect the wretches who 
votefl for the death of Louis XVL from the contempt and indignation of the public" 
{Dumas, tome iii. p. 310). At the same time Napoleon described Salicetti as worse 
than the lazzaroni. 

• Michel Duroc (177;^-181'l). at first only aide de camp to Najioleon, was several 
times entrusted with spécial diplomatic missions (for example, to Berlin, etc.). Oii 
the formation of the Empire he became Grand Maréchal du Palais, and Due do 
Frioul. n<! always remained in close connection with Napoleon until he was killed 
in 1813. As he is often menticmed in contemporary memoirs under his abbre\ inttni 
title of .Varx/ial, ho has sometimes been erroneously inc^huled in the number of tha 
Marshals of the Em))ire— a military rank he never attjiined to. 

'•' It is only just to Ihiroc to atld that this charge does not seen» borne out by the 
ImpresBionB of those more capable than Bourrienne of judging in the matter. 




Proposal to send Bonaparte to La Vendee — He is struck off the list of 
general officers — Salicetti — Joseph's marriage with Mademoiselle Clary 
— Bonapai-te's wish to go to Turkey — Note explaining the plan of his 
proposed expedition — Ililadame Bourrienne's character of Bonaparte, 
and account of her husband's arrest — Constitution of the year III. — 
The 13th Vendémiaire — Bonaparte appointed second in command of 
the army of the interior — Eulogium of Bonaparte by Barras, and its 
consequences — St. . Helena manuscript. . 

Gener.\l Bonaparte returned to Paris, where I also ai'rived 
from Germany sliortly after him. Our intimacy was re- 
Bumed, and lie gave me an account of all that had passed 
in the campaign of the south. He frequently alluded to 
the persecutions he had suffered, and he delivered to me 
the packet of papers noticed in the last chapter, desiring 
me to communicate their contents to my friends. He was 
very anxious, he said, to do away with the supposition 
that he was capable of betraying his country, and, under 
the pretence of amission to Genoa, becoming a spy on the 
interests of France. He loved to talk over his military 
achievements at Toulon and in Italy. He spoke of his 
first successes with that feeling of pleasure and gratifica- 
tion which they were naturally calculated to excite in him. 
The Government wished to send him to La Vendee, with 
the rank of brigadier-general of infantry. Bonaparte re- 
jected this proposition on two grounds. He thought the 
scene of action unworthy of his talents, and he regarded 
his projected removal from the artillery to the infantry as 
a sort of insult. This last was his most powerful objection. 


ûnd was the only one lie urged officially. In consequence 
of his refusal to accept the appointment offered him, the 
Committee of Public Safety decreed that he should be 
struck off the list of general officers.^ 

1 This statement as to the proposed transfer of Bonaparte to the infantry, his dis- 
obedience to the order, and his consequent dismissal, is fiercely attacked in the Er- 
reurs, tome i. chap. iv. It is, however, correct in some points ; but the real truths 
about Bonaparte's life at this time seem so little known that it may be well to ex- 
plain the whole matter. On the 27th of March 1T95 Bonaparte, already removed 
from his employment in the south, was ordered to proceed to the army of the west, 
to command its artillery as brigadier-general. He went as far as Paris, and then lin- 
gered there, partly on medical certificate. While in Paris he applied, as Bourrienne 
says, to go to Turkey to organise its artillery. His application, instead of being 
neglected, as Bourrienne says, was favourably received, two members of the Comitô 
de Salut Public putting on* its margin most favourable reports of him ; one, Jean 
Debry, even saying that he was too distinguished an officer to be sent to a distance 
at such a time. Far from being looked on as the half-crazy fellow Bourrienne con- 
sidered him at that time, Bonaparte was appointed, on the 2lRt of August 1795, one 
of four generals attached as military advisers to the Committee for the preparation 
of warlike operations, his own department being a most important one. He him- 
self at the time tells Joseph that he i:^ attached to the topographical bureau of the 
Comité de Saint Public, for the direction of the armies in the place of Carnot. It is 
apparently this significant appointment to which Madame Junot, wrongly dating 
it, alludes as " no great thing" {Junot, vol. i. p. 143). Another officer was there- 
fore substituted for him as commander of lîoche's artillery, a fact made use of in 
the Erreurs (p. 31) to deny his having been dismissed. But a general re-classifica- 
tion of the generals was being made. The artillery generals were in excess of their 
establishment, and Bonaparte, as junior in age, was ordered on 13th June to join 
Heche's army at Brest to command a brigade of infantry. All his efforts to get the 
order cancelled failed, and as he did not obey it he was struck off the list of em- 
ployed general officers on the 15th of September 1705, the order of the Comité de Sa- 
lut Public being signed by Cambacérès, Bcrlier, Merlin, and Boissy. His application 
to go to Turkey still, however, remained ; and it is a curious thing that, on the very 
day ho was struck off the list, the commission which had replaced the Minister of 
War recommended to the Comitt'i de Salut Public that lio and his two aides de 
camp, Junot and Livrât, with other officers, under him, should bo sent to Constan- 
tinople. So late as the 2!)th of September, twelve days later, this matter was being 
considered, the only cpicHtion being as to any departmental objections to the other 
officers selected by him, a point which was just being settled. But on the 13th Veii- 
dciniuiro (5th October 17U5). or nithc;- (m the night before, only nineteen days after 
his ri-moval, he was appointed second in command to Barras, a career in Franco was 
ojM-ned to him, and Turkey was no longer thought of. 

Thiers (vol. iv. p. 326) and most writors, conttimporary and otherwi.'^e, say that 
Aiibry gave the order for his removal from the list. Aubry, himself a brigadier- 
general of artillery, did not l)clong to the Comité du SaluL Public at the time Bona- 
parte was removed from tlic south ; and he li:id l<!ft the Coniit»- early in August, that 
is, Ixforc the order striking Bonaparte olT was given. Aubry wan, h(»wever. on tho 
ComiU'i in Juno 17!K5, and signed the order, which probably may have originaU'd from 
him, for tlie transH^r of IJonapiirle to the inTantry. It will be seon that, in the or- 
dinary military budhu of thu term, Nupolcou wuu only iu ruciu loU/iuut employment 


Deeply mortified at this unexjDected stroke, Bonaparte 
retired into private life, and found himself doomed to an 
inactivity very uncongenial with his ardent character. He 
lodged in the Rue du Mail, in au hotel near the Place des 
Victoires, and we recommenced the sort of life we had 
led in 1792, before his departure for Corsica. It was not 
without a struggle that he determined to await patiently 
the removal of the prejudices which were cherished against 
him by men in power ; and he hoped that, in the perpet- 
ual changes which were taking place, those men might 
be superseded by others more favourable to him. He fre- 
quently dined and spent the evening with me and my 
eider brother ; and his pleasant conversation and manners 
made the hours pass away very agreeably. I called on 
him almost every morning, and I met at his lodgings sev- 
eral persons who were distinguished at the time ; among 
others Salicetti, with whom he used to maintain very ani- 
mated conversations, and who would often soHcit a private 
interview with him. On one occasion Salicetti paid him 
thi-ee thousand francs, in assignats, as the price of his car- 
riage, which his straitened circumstances obliged him to 
dispose of.' I could easily perceive that our young friend 

from the 15th of Septomber to the 4th or 5th of October 1795 ; all the rest of the 
time in Paris he had a command which he did not choose to take up. The distress 
under which Napoleon is said to have laboured in pecuniary matters was probably 
shared by most officers at that tiaio ; see Erreurs, tome i. p. 32. This period is fully 
described in Jii7ig, tome ii. p. 475, and tome iii. pp. 1-93. 

' Of Napoleon's poverty at this time Madame Junot says, "On Bonaparte's return 
to Paris, after the mi.sfortunet; of which he accused Salicetti of being the cause, he 
was in very destitute circumstances. His family, who were banished from Corsica, 
found an asylum at Marseilles ; and they could not now do for him what they 
would have done had they been in the country whence they derived their pecuniary 
resources. From time to time he received remittances of money, and I suspect they 
came from his excellent brother Joseph, who had then recently married Mademoi- 
Belle Clary; but with all his economy these supplies were insufficient. Bonaparte 
was therefore in absolute distress. Junot often used to speak of the six months 
they passed together in Paris at this time. When they took an evening stroll on 
the Boulevard, which used to be the resort of young men, mounted on fine horses, 
and displaying all the luxury which they were permitted to show at that time, Bon;i- 
parte would declaim against fate, and express his contempt for the dandies with 
their whifikers and their oreillea de diitu, who, as they rode past, were eulogising 


eitlier was or wished to be initiated in some political in- 
trigue ; and I moreover suspected that Salicetti had bound 
him by an oath not to disclose the plans that were hatching. 
He became pensive, melancholy, and anxious ; and he al- 
ways looked with impatience for Salicetti's daily visit.* 
Sometimes, withdrawing his mind from political affairs, 
he would envy the hapjDiness of his brother Joseph, who 
had just then married Mademoiselle Clar}^ the daughter 
of a rich and respectable merchant of Marseilles. He 
would often say, " That Joseph is a lucky rogue." 

Meanwhile time passed away, and none of his projects 
succeeded — none of his applications were listened to. He 
was vexed by the injustice with which he was treated, and 
tormented by the desire of entering upon some active 
pursuit. He could not endure the thought of remaining 
buried in the crowd. He determined to quit France ; and 
the favourite idea, which he never afterwards relinquished, 
that the East is a fine field for glory, inspired him with 
the wish to proceed to Constantinople, and to enter the 
service of the Grand Seignior. What romantic plans, 
what stupendous projects he conceived ! He asked me 
whether I would go with him? I replied in the negative. 
I looked upon him as a half-crazy young fellow, who was 
driven to extravagant euterj^rises and desperate resolu- 
tions by his restless activity of mind, joined to the irritat- 
ing treatment he had experienced, and, perhaps, it may 
be added, his want of money. He did not blame me for 
my refusal to accompany him ; and he told me that Junot, 
Marmont, and some other young officers whom lie had 
known at Toulon, would be willing to follow his fortunes. 

He drew up a note, which commenced with the words 

in ccKtaHy the manner in whic^h Madame Sclo buhk paoJe lutfum/'e, paole panarhfe, 
• And it Ih on Huch beinj?K as these,' he would say, ' that Fortune coufern her favourn. 
Grand Dieu I how cont^-mptiblo in liuiuan mifurel'" (Mcmoirn of the Duchesse 
dTAhrnnteK. vol. i. p. SO, edit. 18KS). 

> Salic-ctti wnn Iniplicjated in the insurrection of the iJOth May 171)5, Ibt Prairial, 
year ill., uud wan obliged to lly to Veuice. 


Note for .... It was addressed to no one, and was 
merely a plan. Some days after he wrote out another, 
which, however, did not differ very materially from the 
first, and which he addressed to Aubert and Coni. I 
made him a fair copy of it, and it was regulai'ly for- 
warded. It was as follows : — 


At a moment when tlie Empress of Russia has strengthened her 
union witli the Emperor of Germany (Austria), it is the interest of 
France to do everything in her power to increase the military 
power of Turkey. 

Tliat power possesses a numeroiis and brave militia, but is very 
backward in the scientific part of the art of war. 

The organisation and the service of the artillery, which, in our 
modern tactics, so powerfully facilitate the gaining of battles, and 
on which, almost exclusively, depend the attack and defence of 
fortresses, are especially the points in which France excels, and in 
which the Turks are most deficient. 

They have several times applied to us for artillery officers, and 
we have sent tliem some ; but the officers thus sent have not been 
sufficiently powerful, either in numbers or talent, to produce any 
important result. 

General Bonaparte, who, from his youth, lias served in the 
artillery, of which he was entrusted with the command at the siege 
of Toulon, and in the two campaigns of Italy, offers his services to 
proceed to Turkey, with a mission from the (French) Government. 

He proposes to take along with him six or seven officers, of dif- 
ferent kinds, and who may be, altogether, perfect masters of the 
military art. 

He will liave the satisfaction of being useful to liis country in this 
new career, if he succeed in rendering the Turkisli power more 
formidable, by completing the defence of their principal fortresses, 
and constructing new ones. 

This note shows the error of the often-repeated assertion, 
that he proposed entering the service of the Turks against 
Austria. He makes no mention of such a thing ; and the 
two countries were not at war.' 

> The Scottish biographer makes Bonaparte say that it would be stranpe if a little 
Corsican abould become Kiuy of Jerusalem. I never huurd anything drop from him 


No answer was returned to this note. Turkey remained 
unaided, and Bonaparte unoccupied. I must confess that 
for the failure of this project, at least I was not sorry. I 
should have regretted to see a young man of great prom- 
ise, and one for whom I cherished a sincere friendship, 
devote himself to so uncertain a fate. Napoleon has less 
than any man provoked the events which have favoured 
him ; no one has more yielded to circumstances from 
which he was so skilful to derive advantages. If, however, 
a clerk of the War Office had but written on the note, 
'^Granted" that little word would probably have changed 
the fate of Europe. 

Bonaparte remained in Paris, forming schemes for the 
gratificatien of his ambition, and his desire of making a fig- 
ure in the world ; but obstacles opposed all he attempted. 

Women are better judges of character than men. 
Madame de Bourrienne, knowing the intimacy which sub- 
sisted between us, preserved some notes which she made 
upon Bonajoarte, and the circumstances which struck her 
as most remarkable, during her early connection wdth 
him. My wife did not entertain so favourable an opinion 
of him as I did ; the warm friendship I cherished for him 
probably blinded me to his faults. I subjoin Madame de 
Bourrienne's notes, word for word. 

On tlie day after our second return from Germany, which was in 
May 171)5, we met Bonaparte in the Palais Royal, near a shop kept 
hy a man named Girardin. Bonaparte embraced Bourrienne as a 
fri(!nd wliom lie loved and was glad to see. We went that evening 
to the Théâtre Français. The performance consisted of a tragedy, 
and Le Sourd, ou rAuhcrgfi pleine. During the latter piece the au- 
dience was convulsed witli laughter. The part of Dasnières was rep- 
resented by Batiste the younger, and it was never played better. 
The bursts of laughter were so loud and fnîfiuent that the actor was 
several times obliged to stop in the midst of his jtart. Bonaparto 
alone (and it struck mo as being very extraordinary) was silent, and 

which HiipportrtLho [)rol)ribllity of mich u roiniirk, and (•«•rtiiinly thi-ro Ih nuthliig ia 
his uote to wiirriiiit tho Infercnciiof bin having mudo \i.~ liuurrienne. 

Vol. I.— a 


coldly insensible to the humour which was so irresistibly diverting ta 
every one else. I remarked at this period that his character was re- 
served, and frequently gloomy. His smile was hypocritical, and 
often misplaced ; and I recollect that a few days after our return 
he gave us one of those specimens of savage hilarity which I greatly 
disliked, and which prepossessed me against him. He was telling 
us that, being before Toulon, where he commanded the artillery, 
one of his officers was visited by hiô wife, to whom he had been but 
ft short time married, and whom he tenderly loved. A few days 
after, orders were given for another attack upon the town, in which 
this officer was to be engaged. His wife came to General Bonaparte, 
and with tears entreated him to dispense with her husband's ser- 
vices that day. The General was inexorable, as he himself told us, 
with a sort of savage exultation. The moment for the attack ar- 
rived, and the officer, though a very brave man, as Bonaparte him- 
self assured us, felt a presentiment of his approaching death. He 
turned pale and trembled. He was stationed beside the General, 
and during an interval when the firing from the town was very 
heavy, Bonaparte called out to him, ''Take care, there is a shell 
coming ! " The officer, instead of moving to one side, stooped down, 
and was literally severed in two. Bonaparte laughed loudly while 
he described the event with horrible minuteness. 

At this time we saw him almost every day. He frequently came 
to dine with us. As there was a scarcity of bread, and sometimes 
only two ounces per head daily were distributed in the section, it 
was customary to request one's guests to bring their own bread, as 
it could not be procured for money. Bonaparte and his brother 
Louis (a mild, agreeable young man, who was the General's aide de 
camp) used to bring with them their ration bread, which was black, 
and mixed with bran. I was sorry to observe that all this bad bread 
fell to the share of the -poor aide de canip^ for we provided the Gen- 
eral with a finer kind, which was made clandestinely by a pastry- 
cook, from flour which we contrived to smuggle from Sens, where 
my husband had some farms. Had we been denounced, the affair 
might have cost us our heads. 

We spent six weeks in Paris, and we went frequently with Bona- 
parte to the theatres, and to the line concerts given by Garat in the 
Rue St. Marc. These were the first brilliant entertainments that 
took place after the death of Robespierre. There was always some- 
thing original in Bonaparte's behaviour, for he often slipped away 
from us without saying a word; and when we were supposing he 
had left the theatre, we would suddenly discover him in the second 
or third tier, bitting alone in a box, and looking rather sulky. 


Before onr departure for Sens, where my liusband' s family reside, 
and which was fixed upon for the place of my first accouchement, we 
looked out for more agreeable apartments than we had in the Rue 
Grenier St. Lazare, which we only had temporarily. Bonaparte used 
to assist us iu our researches. At last we took the first floor of a 
handsome new house, No. 19 Rue des Marais, Bonaparte, who 
wished to stop in Paris, went to look at a house opposite to ours. 
He had thoughts of taking it for himself, his uncle Fesch (after- 
wards Cardinal Fesch), and a gentleman named Patrauld, formerly 
one of his masters at the Military School. One day he said, " With 
that house over there, my friends in it, and a cabriolet, I shall be 
the happiest fellow in the world." 

We soon after left town for Sens. The house was not taken by 
him, for other and great affairs were preparing. During the interval 
between our departure and the fatal day of Vendémiaire several 
letters passed between him and his school companion. These let- 
ters were of the most amiable and affectionate description. They 
have been stolen. On our return, in November of the same year, 
everything was changed. The college friend was now a great per- 
sonage. He had got the command of Paris in return for his share 
in the events of Vendémiaire. Instead of a small house in the Rue 
des Marais, he occupied a splendid hôtel in the Rue des Capucines ; 
the modest cabriolet was converted into a superb equipage, and the 
man himself was no longer the same. But the friends of his 3'outh 
were still received when they made their morning calls. They were 
invited to grand déjeuiiei'S, which were sometimes attended by ladies ; 
and, among others, by the beautiful Madame Tallien and her friend 
the amiable Madame de Beauharnais. to whom Bonaparte had be- 
gun to pay attention. Ho cared little for his friends, and ceased to 
address them in the style of familiar equality. 

After the 18th of Vendémiaire M. de Bourrienne saw Bonaparte 
only at distant periods. In the month of February 17i)() my luus- 
baud was arre.stcjd, at seven in the morning, by a party of mt-n, 
armed with muskets, on the cliargo of being a returned emigrant. 
lie was torn from his wife and hi.s child, only six months old, being 
barely allowed time to dress himself. I followed him. They con- 
veyed him to the guard-house of the Section, and thence I know not 
whither ; and, finally, in the evening, they placed him in the lock- 
up-house of the préfecture of police, which. I boliove, is now called 
the central bureau. There ho passed two nights and a day, among 
men of the lowjist description, some of whom were even nuilefactors. 
I and his friend.'? ran about («vcrywhcru, trying to lind somebody to 
rescue him, and, among the rest, Bonaparte was applied to. It \va« 


with great difficulty he could be seen. Accompanied by one of my 
husband's friends, I waited for the Commandant of Paris until 
midnight, but he did not come home. Next morning I returned at 
an early hour, and found him. I stated what had happened to my 
husband, whose life was then at stake. He appeared to feel very 
little for the situation of his friend, but, however, determined to 
write to Merlin, the Minister of Justice. I carried the letter accord- 
ing to its address, and met the Minister as he was coming downstairs, 
on his way to the Directory. Being in grand costume, he wore a 
Henri IV. hat, surmounted with a multitude of plumes, a dress 
which formed a singular contrast with his person. He opened the 
letter ; and whether it was that he cared as little for the General as 
for the cause of M. de Bourrienne's arrest, he replied that the mat- 
ter was no longer in his hands, and that it was now under the cog- 
nisance of the public administrators of the laws. The Minister then 
stepped into his carriage, and the writer was conducted to several 
offices in his liGtel. She passed through them with a broken heart, 
for she met with none but men, who told her that the pris- 
oner deserved death. From them she learned that on the follow- 
ing day he would be brought before the judge of the peace for his 
Section, who would decide whether there was ground for putting 
him on his trial. In fact, this proceeding took place next day. He 
was conveyed to the house o^ the judge of the peace for the Section 
of Bondy, Rue Grange-aux-Belles, whose name was Lemaire. His 
countenance was mild ; and though his manner was cold, he liad 
none of the harshness and ferocity common to the Government 
agents of that time. His examination of the charge was long, and 
he several times shook his head. The moment of decision had ar- 
rived, and everything seemed to indicate that the termination would 
be to place tlie prisoner under accusation. At seven o'clock he de- 
sired me to be called. I hastened to him, and beheld a most heart- 
rending scene. Bourrienne was suffering under a haemorrhage, 
which had continued since two o'clock, and had interrupted the ex- 
amination. The judge of the peace, who looked sad, sat with his 
head resting on his hand. I threw myself at his feet, and implored 
his clemency. The wife and the two daughters of the judge visited 
tliis scene of s; rrow, and assisted me in .softening him. He was a 
worthy and feeling man, a good husband and parent, and it was 
evident that he struggled between compassion and duty. He kept 
referring to the laws on tlie subject, and, after long researches said 
tome, •' To-morrow is Décadi, and no proceedings can take place 
un that day. Find, madame, two responsible persons, who will an- 
Bwer for the appearance of your husband, and I will permit him tê 


go home with you, accompanied by the two guardians." Next day 
two friends were found, one of whom was M. Desmaisons, counsel- 
lor of the court, who became bail for M. de Bourrienne. He con- 
tinued under these guardians six months, until a law compelled the 
persons who were inscribed on the fatal list to remove to tlie dis- 
tance of ten leagues from Paris, One of the guardians was a man 
of straw ; the other was a knight of St. Louis. The former was 
left in the antechamber ; the latter made, every evening, one of 
our party at cards. The family of M. de Bourrienne have always 
felt the warmest gratitude to the judge of the peace and his family. 
That worthy man saved the life of M. de Bourrienne, who, when 
he returned from Egypt, and had it in his power to do him some 
service, hastened to his house ; but the good judge was no more ! 

The letters mentioned in the narrative were at this time 
stolen from me by the police officers. 

Everyone was now eager to ])^y court to a man who had 
risen from the crowd in consequence of the part he had 
acted at an extraordinary crisis, and who was spoken of 
as the future General of the Army of Italy. It was ex- 
pected that he would be gratified, as he really was, by the 
restoration of some letters which contained the expression 
of his former very modest wishes, called to recollection his 
unpleasant situation, his limited ambition, his pretended 
aversion for public emj^loyment, and finally exliibited his 
intimate relations with those who were, without hesitation, 
characterised as emigrants, to be afterwards made the vic- 
tims of confiscation and death. 

The 13th of Vendémiaire (5th October 1795) was ap- 
proaching. The National Convention had been painfully 
delivered of a new constitution, called, from the epocli of 
its birth, " the Constitution of Year III." It was adopted 
on the 22d of August 1705. The provident legislators did 
not forg(;t tliemselves. They stipulated that two-thirds 
of tlieir body should form part of tlio new legislature. 
The party opposed to tlio Convention lioped, on the con- 
trary, that, by a general election, a mjijority would bo ob- 
tained for its opinion. That (»i)iuiou was against tho con- 


tinuation of power in the hands of men who had already 
so greatly abused it. The same opinion was also enter- 
tained by a great part of the most influential Sections of 
Paris, both as to the possession of property and talent. 
These Sections declared that, in accepting the new con- 
stitution, they rejected the decree of the 30th of August, 
which required the re-election of two-thh'ds. The Conven- 
tion, therefore, found itself menaced in what it held most 
dear — its power, — and accordingly resorted to measures 
of defence. A declaration was put forth, stating that the 
Convention, if attacked, would remove to Chalous-sur- 
Marne ; and the commanders of the armed force were 
called upon to defend that body. 

The 5th of October, the day on which the Sections of 
Paris attacked the Convention, is certainly one which 
ought to be marked in the wonderful destiny of Bonaparte. 
With the events of that day were linked, as cause and 
effect, many great political convulsions of Europe. The 
blood which flowed ripened the seeds of the youthful 
General's ambition. It must be admitted that the history 
of past ages presents few periods full of such extraordinaiy 
events as the years included between 1795 and 1815. The 
man whose name serves, in some measure, as a recapitu- 
lation of all these great events was entitled to believe 
himself immortal. 

Living retired at Sens since the month of July, I only 
learned what had occasioned the insurrection of the Sec- 
tions from public report and the journals. I cannot, 
therefore, say what part Bonaparte may have taken in the 
intrigues which preceded that day. He was officially 
characterised only as secondary actor in the scene. The 
account of the aflair which was published announces that 
Barras was, on that very day. Commander-in-chief of the 
Army of the Interior, and Bonaparte second in command. 
Bonaparte drew up that account. The whole of the man- 
uscript was in his handwriting, and it exhibits all the 


peculiarity of his style and orthography. He sent me a 

Those who read the bulletin of the 13th Vendémiaire, 
cannot fail to observe the care which Bonaparte took to 
cast the reproach of shedding the first blood on the men 
he caUs rebels. He made a great point of representing 
his adversaries as the aggressors. It is certain he long 
regretted that day. He often told me that he would give 
years of his life to blot it out from the page of his history. 
He was convinced that the people of Paris were dreadfull;y 
irritated against him, and he would have been glad if 
Barras had never made that speech in the Convention, with 
the part of which, complimentary to himself, he was at 
the time so well pleased. Barras said, " It is to his able 
and prompt dispositions that we are indebted for the 
defence of this assembly, around which he had posted the 
troops with so much skill." This is perfectly true, but it 
is not always agreeable that every truth should be told. 
Being out of Paris, and a total stranger to this affair, I 
know not how far he was indebted for his success to chance, 
or to his own exertions, in the part assigned to him by 
the miserable Government which then oppressed France. 
He represented himself only as secondary actor in this 
sanguinary scene in which Barras made him his associate. 
He sent to me, as already mentioned, an account of the 
transaction, written entirely in his own hand, and dis- 
tinguished by all the peculiarities of his style and 
orthography. ' 

" On the 13th," says Bonaparte, " at five o'clock in the 
morniiig, the representative of the people, Barras, was 
appointed Commander-in-chief of the Army of the Inter- 
ior, and General Bonaparte was nominated second iu 

* Jriwiph Boiiiipiiiic, in a note on tliln paKRnpc, insinuntcn thiit tlic nccount of tha 
13th Vondérnidiru wiiH iiovcr Hcnt to Sinn, but wuh ubKtnuaod l)y HouirlL-nno, witli 
other UocumcntH, from NuimjIcoh'h cabinet (A'rrcMr/», tomo i. !>. SWU). 


" The artillery for service on the frontier was still at the 
camp of Sablons, guarded solely by 150 men ; the remain- 
der was at Marly with 200 men. The depot of Meudon 
was left unprotected. There were at the Feuillans only 
a few four-pounders without artillerymen, and but 80,000 
cartridges. The victualling depots were dispersed 
throughout Paris. In many Sections the drums beat to 
arms ; the Section of the Theatre Français had advanced 
posts even as far as the Pont Neuf, which it had barricaded. 

"General Barras ordered the artillery to move immedi- 
ately from the camp of Sablons to the Tuileries, and 
selected the artillerymen from the battalions of the 89th 
regiment, and from the gendarmerie, and placed them at 
the Palace ; sent to Meudon 200 men of the police legion 
whom he brought from Versailles, 50 cavalry, and two 
companies of veterans ; he ordered the property which 
was at Marly to be conveyed to Meudon ; caused car- 
tridges to be brought there, and established a workshop 
at that place for the manufacture of more. He secured 
means for the subsistence of the army and of the Conven- 
tion for many days, independently of the depots which 
were in the Sections. 

" General Verdier, who commanded at the Palais Na- 
tional, exhibited great coolness ; he was required not to 
suffer a shot to be fired till the last extremit}'. In the 
meantime reports reached him from all quarters acquaint- 
ing him that the Sections were assembled in arms, and 
had formed their columns. He accordingly arrayed his 
troops so as to defend the Convention, and his artillery 
was in readiness to repulse the rebels. His cannon was 
planted at the Feuillans to fire down the Rue Honoré. 
Eight-pounders were pointed at every opening, and in the 
event of any mishap, General Verdier had cannon in 
reserve to fire in fiank upon the column which should 
have forced a passage. He left in the Carrousel thi-ee 
howitzers (eight-pounders) to batter down the houses 


from which the Convention might be fired upon. At four 
o'clock the rebel columns marched out from every street 
to unite their forces. It was necessary to take advantage 
of this critical moment to attack the insurgents, even had 
they been regular troops. But the blood about to flow 
was French ; it was therefore for these misguided people, 
already guilty of rebellion, to embrue their hands in the 
blood of their countrymen by striking the first blow. 

"At a quarter before five o'clock the insurgents had 
formed. The attack was commenced by them on all 
sides. They were everywhere routed. French blood was 
spilled : the crime, as well as the disgrace, fell this day 
upon the Sections. 

" Among the dead were everywhere to be recognized 
emigrants, landowners, and nobles ; the prisoners con- 
sisted for the most part of the chouans of Charette. 

"Nevertheless the Sections did not consider themselves 
beaten : they took refuge in the church of St. Eoch, in 
the theatre of the Republic, and in the Palais Égalité; 
and everywhere they were heard furiously exciting the 
inhabitants to arms. To spare the blood which would 
have been shed the next day it was necessary that no time 
should be given them to rally, but to follow them with 
vigour, though without incurring fresh hazards. The 
General ordered Moutchoisy, who commanded a reserve 
at the Place de la R'wolution, to lorm a column with two 
twelve-pounders, to march by the Boulevard in order to 
turn the Place Vcudûmo, to form a junction with the 
picket stationed at headquarters, and to return in the 
same order of column. 

" General Bruno, with two howitzers, deployed in the 
streets of St. Nioaiso and St. Honorr. Genond Cartaux 
sent two hundred men and a four-pounder of liis division 
by tlio lliio St. ThoiJias-du-Louvro to debouch in the 
sqiiaro of the Pilai.s Égali! '. General Bonaparte, who 
had his horso killed under him, repaired to the Feuillaurt. 


"The columns began to move. St. Roch and the 
theatre of the Republic were taken b}" assault, when the 
rebels abandoned them, and retreated to the upper part 
of the Rue de la Loi, and barricaded themselves on all 
sides. Patrols were sent thither, and several cannon- 
shots were fired during the night, in order to prevent 
them from throwing up defences, which object was effec- 
tually accomplished. 

"At daybreak, the General having learned that some 
students from the St. Genevieve side of the river were 
marching with two pieces of cannon to succour the 
rebels, sent a detachment of dragoons in pursuit of them, 
who seized the cannon and conducted them to the Tuil- 
eries. The enfeebled Sections, however, still showed a 
front. They had barricaded the Section of Grenelle, and 
placed their cannon in the principal streets. At nine 
o'clock General Beruyer hastened to form his division in 
battle array in the Place Vendôme, marched with two 
eight-pounders to the Rue des Vieux- Augustin s, and 
pointed them in the direction of the Section Le Pelletier. 
General Vachet, with a corps of tirailleurs, marched on 
his right, ready to advance to the Place Victoire. General 
Brune marched to the Perron, and planted two howitzers 
at the upper end of the Rue Vivienne. General Duvigier, 
with his column of six hundred men, and two twelve- 
pounders, advanced to the streets of St. Roch and Mont- 
martre. The Sections lost courage with the apprehension 
of seeing their retreat cut off, and evacuated the post at 
the sight of our soldiers, forgetting the honour of the 
French name which they had to support. The Section of 
Brutus still caused some uneasiness. The wife of a 
representative had been arrested there. General Duvigier 
was ordered to proceed along the Boulevard as far as the 
Rue Poissonnière. General Beruyer took up a position 
at the Place Victoire, and General Bonaparte occupied 
the Pont-au-Change. 


" Tlie Section of Brutus was surrounded, and the 
troops advanced upon the Place de Grève, where the 
crowd poured in from the Isle St. Louis, from the The- 
atre Français, and from the Palace. Everywhere the pa- 
triots had regained their courage, while the poniards of 
the emigrants, armed against us, had disappeared. The 
people universally admitted their error. 

" The next day the two Sections of Le Pelletier and the 
Theatre Franyais were disarmed." 

The result of this petty civil war brought Bonaparte for- 
ward ; but the party he defeated at that period never par- 
doned him for the past, and that which he supported 
dreaded him in the future. Five j-ears after he will be 
found reviving the principles which he combated on the 
5th of October 1795. On being appointed, on the motion 
of Barras, Lieutenant-General of the Army of the Interior, 
he established his headquarters in the Rue Neuve des Ca- 
pucines. The statement in the Manuscrit de Sainte Hélène^ 
that after the 13th Brumaire he remained unemploj'ed at 
Paris, is therefore obviously erroneous. So far from this, 
he was incessantly occupied with the policy of the nation, 
and with his own fortunes. Bonaparte was in constant, 
almost daily, communication with every one then in 
power, and knew how to profit by all he saw or heard. 

To avoid returning to this Manuscrit de Sainte Tlclcne, 
which at the period of its appearance attracted more 
attention than it deserved, and which was very generally 
attributed to Bonaparte, I sliall here say a few words 
respecting it. I shall briefly repeat what I saiil in a note 
when my opinion was asked, under high authority, by a 
minister of Louis XVIII. 

No reader intimately acquainted with public affairs can 
be deceived by the pretended authenticity of tliis pam- 
plilet. What docs it contain ? Facts perverted and 
heaped together without metliod, and related in an ob- 
scure, afTccted, and ridiculously scutcutious stylo. Be- 


sides what appears in it, bat wliicli is baclh' placed tlicre, 
it is impossible not to remark the omission of what should 
necessarily be there, were N ipoleon the author. It is full 
of absurd and of insignificant gossip, of thoughts Napoleon 
never had, expressions unknown to hiin, and affectations 
far removed from his character. With some elevated 
ideas, more than one stjde and an equivocal spirit can be 
seen in iL Professed coincidences are put close to un- 
pardonable anachronisms, and to the most absurd revela- 
tions. It contains neither his thoughts, his stjde, his ac- 
tions, nor his life. Some truths are mixed up with an 
inconceivable mass of falsehoods. Some forms of expres- 
sion used by Bonaparte are occasionally met with, but 
they are awkwardly introduced, and often with bad taste.' 
It has been reported that the pamphlet was written by 
M. Bertrand, formerly an officer of the army of the Vis- 
tula, and a relation of the Comte de Simeon, peer of 

^ JIanusa'it ve?iu de Sainte Helena d'une manière inconnue, London, Murray; 
Bruxelles, De Mit, 20 Avril 1817. This work merits a note. Metternch (vol. i. 
pp. 312-18) says, " At the time when it appeared the manuscript of St. Helena made 
a (»reat impression upon Europe. This pamphlet was generally regarded as a pre- 
cursor of the memoirs which Napoleon was thought to be writin» in his place of 
exile. The report soon spread that the work was concoivcd and executed by 
Madame de Staël. Madame de Staël, for lier p i.rt. attributed "it to BeTijamin Con- 
stant, from whom she was at this time separated by some disagreement. Afterwards 
it came to be known that the authc^r was the Marciuis LuUin de Chàteauricux, a 
man in society, whom no one had suspected of being able to hold a pen." Jomini 
(tome i. p. 6 note) says, " It will be remarked that in the course of this work [his 
Life of Napoleon] the author has usf^d some fifty pages of the pretended Manuscrit 
de Sainte Hélène. Far from wishing to commit a plagiarism, he considers he ought to 
render this homage to a clever and original work, several false points of view in 
which, however, he has combated. It would have been easy for him to rewrite these 
pages in other terms, but they appeared to him to h> so well suited lo the character 
of Napoleon that he has preferred to preserve them." In the will of Napoleon 
occurs {/tee end of thin toork) : " I disavow the Manuacrit de Sainte Iléline, and the 
other works under the title of Maxiyni, Sentences, etc., which they have been 
pleased to publish during the last six years. Such rules are not those which have 
guided my life." This manuscript must not be confused with the Memorial ol 
Saint Helena. 

1795-97. 45 



On my return to Paris I meet Bonaparte — His interview with Josephine 
— Bonaparte's marriage, and departure from Paris ten days after — 
Portrait and character of Josephine — Bonaparte's dislike of national 
property — Letter to Josephine — Letter of General Colli, and Bona- 
parte's reply — Bonaparte refuses to serve with KeUerman — Marmont's 
letters — Bonaparte's order to me to join the army — My departure from 
Sens for Italy — Insurrection of the Venetian States. 

After the 13th Vendémiaire I returned to Paris from 
Sens. During the short time I stopped there I saw Bona- 
j»arte less frequently than formerly. I had, however, no 
reason to attribute this to anything but the pressure of 
public business with which he was now occupied. When 
I did meet him it was most commonly at breakfast or 
dinner. One day he called my attention to a young lady 
who sat opposite to him, and asked what I thought of her. 
The way in which I answered his question appeared to give 
liim much pleasure. He then talked a great deal to me about 
lier, her family, and her amiable qualities ; he told me that 
he should probably marry her, as he was convinced that 
the union would midv:e him happy. I also gathered from 
his conversation that his marriage with the young widow 
would probably assist him in gaining the objects of his 
ambition. His constantly-increasing influence with her 
}i;id already brought him into contact with the most influen- 
tial persons of that epoch. Ho remained in Paris only ten 
days after his marriage, which took i)lace on the 9th of 
March 179G.' It was a union in which great harmony 

' Bonnp:irt«'fi first interview with .loM^phinc, and the circiunutance which gave 
riw! to it, arc thiiH (1cb( ribi-d in tlic Miinniris Ur CoiistuiU : — 
" Kuguno wua not mure tliaa fuiirtuuu ur Uftccu ycoru of ago whuu he vuuturcd to 


prevailed, notwithstanding occasional slight disagi-eements. 
Bonaparte never, to my knowledge, caused annoyance to 
Ins wife. Madame Bonaparte possessed personal graces 
and many good qualities/ I am convinced that all who 

introduce himself to General Bonaparte, for the purpose of soliciting his father's 
Bword, of which he understood the General had become possessed. The countenar.ce, 
air, and frank manner of Eugene pleased Bonaparie, and he immediately granted 
him the boon he sought. As soon as the sword was placed in the boy's hands he 
buriKt into tears, and kiwsed it. This feehng of affection for his father's memory, and 
the natural manner in which it was evinced, increased the interest of Bonaparte in 
his young visitor. Madame de Bcauharnais, on learning the kind reception which 
the General had given her son, thought it her duty to call and thank him. Bona- 
parte was much pleased with Josephine on this first interview, and he returned her 
visit. The acquaintance thus commenced speedily led to their marriage." 

This anecdote is related in nearly the same terms in ^4 Voice fi'oni St. ffeleva. 
The story seems unlikely, however, as there was no disarmament after the 13th 
Vendémiaire, and Josephine, as a friend of Barras, would have been safe from any 
domiciliary visit ; moreover, Bonaparte himself, at Rt. Helena, says that he first met 
Josephine at Barras' (see lung's Bonaparte, tome iii. p. 116). 

1 " Neither of his wives had ever anytliing to complain of from Napoleon's per- 
sonal manner»" {Metternich, vol. i. p. 279). 

Madame de Rémusat, who, to paraphrase Thiers' saying on Boun-ienne himself, ia 
a trustworthy witness, for if .she received benefits from Napoleon they did not weigh 
on her, says, " However, Napoleon had some affection for his first wife : and, in 
fact, if he has at any time been touched, no doubt it has been only for her and by 
her" (tome i. p. 113). '= Bonaparte was young when he first knew Madame de 
Beauharnais. In the circle where he met her she had a great superiority by the 
name she bore and by the extreme elegance of her manners. ... In marrying 
Madame de Bcaaharnuis, Bonaparte believed he was allyiug himself to a very grand 
lady; thus this was one mere cunciuest" (jx 1141. But in speaking of Jos^^phine's 
complaints to Napoleon of his love affairs, Madame de Rémusat says, " Her husband 
sometimes answered by violences, the excess of which I do not "dare to detail, until 
the moment when, hi= new fancy having suddenly passed, he felt his tenderness for 
his wife again renewed. Then he was touched by her sufferings, replaced his insults 
by caresses which were hardly more measured than his violences, and, as she was 
gentle and untenacious, she fell back into her feeling of security " (p. SCO). 

Miot de Melito, who was a follower of Joseph Bonaparte, says, " No woman has 
united so much kindness to so nuich natural grace, or has done more good with more 
pleasure than she did. She honoured me with her friendship, and the remembrance 
of the benevolence she has shown me, to the last moment of her too short existence, 
will never be effaced from my heart" (tome i. pp. 101-2). 

Meneval, the successor of Bourrienne in his place of secretary to Napoleon, and 
who remained attached to the Emperor imtil the end, says of Josephine (tome i. p 
227), " Josephine was irresistibly attractive. Her beauty was not regular, but she 
had La grOce, plus belle encore que la beauté, according to the good La Fontaine. 
She had the soft abandonment, the supple and elegant movements, and th« gracefuJ 
carelessness of the créoles.''' Her temper was always the same. She was gentle and 

■" The reader must remember that the term " créole " does not imply any taint of 
black blood, but only that the person, of Euro^^ean family, has been born in th« 
West Indies. 


%■■ V -, ' '%tr^r.< 

■-•;/..■- ;. 1 -. — 



were acquainted with her must have felt bound to speak 
well of her ; to few, indeed, did she ever give cause for 
complaint. In the time of her power she did not lose any 
of her friends, because she forgot none of them. Benevo- 
lence was natural to her, but she was not always prudent 
in its exercise. Hence her protection was often extended 
to persons who did not deserve it. Her taste for splendour 
and expense was excessive. This proneness to luxury 
became a habit which seemed constantly indulged without 
any motive. What scenes have I not witnessed when the 
moment for paying the tradesmen's bills arrived ! She 
always kept back one-half of their claims, and the discov- 
ery of this exposed her to new reproaches. How many 
tears did she shed which might have been easily spared ! 

kind, affable and indulgent with every one, without difference of persons. She had 
neither a superior mind nor much learning, but her exquisite politeness, her full 
acquaintance with society, with the court, and with their innocent artifices, made 
her always know at need the best thing to say or to do." 

When Talleyranil was asked about her, "Avait-elle de l'esprit?" he answered, 
"Elle s'en passait .supérieurement bien" {Diary of Henry Greville, p. 77). 

Perhaps Napoleon's feeling for Josephine may be best judged by one little trait. 
After the divorce, Josephine's affairs, as usual with her, became embarrassed. The 
Comte Mollien, chosen for his conciliatory manners, was sent by the Emperor to see 
Josephine, and regulate matters. On his return Napoleon learnt that Josephine had 
shed tears. " Napoleon interrupted the Minister to say to him that he had specially 
ordered him not to make her weep " {)feneval, tome iii. p. 2'J7). 

It may be well also to have an unfavourable portrait of her. "Josephine," says 
Lucien Bonaparte, *' was not ill-natured, or rather, it has been constantly said that 
she was very kind ; but that was when her acts of kindness cost her nothing. She 
had knowledge enough of the 'grand monde' into which she had been introduced by 
her first husband a short time before the Ilevolution of 1789. She had very little 
mind, and could not be calU-d beautiful, but thero were some créole reminiscences in 
the supple undnlations of her figure, which was rather below the ordinary height, 
lier face had no natural fresliness, but that was sulficicntly remediiil for candle-light 
by the <;are of her toilette. Yet all her person was not devoid of some remains of 
' attract/»-i)art.ige ' of her first youth, which tho painter Gérard, that skilful restoier 
of the dainagi'd beauty of faded woii'.en, has agreeably reproduced in tho portrait» 
which remain to us of the wife of tho First Consul." Lucien goes on to say that ho 
hardly noticed her in ITÎWî, so inferior was she to the other beauties of tho Court of 
BurraH. of which the wife of TuUien was tho real Calypso {Lucien Bonaparte, hj 
lung, toini- i. pp.'!(»). 

For a rorrol)oratl()n of this sneer at Josi'phinc's kindness, soo dWbranttH, vol. il. 
pp. G5MJ0, where one of her protéf/fs, finding that inst<'nd of a petition, ho had giv(m 
her his tailor's bill U) be presented to NaiK)le()n, is amnzeil by receiving her asHUraneeH 
thut sha and Napoleon have n-ad the i)etitlon togt-ther. aiid that tho Huccesa of thi« 
ulTuir had made liur tho hai)pioBt woman in the world ! 


When fortune placed a crown on her head she told me 
that the event, extraordinary as it \yas, had been predicted. 
It is certain that she put faith in fortune-tellers. I often 
expressed to her my astonishment that she should cherish 
such a belief, and she readily laughed at her own credulity ; 
but notwithstanding never abandoned it. The event had 
given importance to the prophecy ; but the foresight of the 
prophetess, said to be an old negress, was not the less a 
matter of doubt. 

Not long before the 13th of Vendémiaire, that day which 
opened for Bonaparte his immense career, he addressed 
a letter to me at Sens, in which, after some of his usually 
friendly expressions, he said, " Look out a small piece of 
laud in your beautiful valley of the Yonne. I will pur- 
chase it as soon as I can scrape together the money. I 
wish to retire there ; but recollect that I will have nothing 
to do with national j)roperty." 

Bonaparte left Paris on the 21st of March 1796, while I 
was still with my guardians. He no sooner joined the 
French army than General Colli, then in command of the 
Piedmontese army, transmitted to him the following letter, 
which, with its answer, I think sufficiently interesting to 
deserve preservation : — 

General — I suppose that you are ignorant of tlie arrest of one 
of my officers, named Moulin, the bearer of a Hag of truce, who has 
been detained for some days past at Mnrseco, contrary to the hiws 
of war, and notwitlistanding an immediate demand for his liberation 
being made by General Count Vital. His being a French emigrant 
cannot take from him the rights of a flag of truce, and I again claim 
him in that character. The courtesy and generosity which I liave 
always experienced from the generals of your nation induces me to 
hope that I shall not make this application in vain ; and it is with 
regret that I mention that your chief of brigade, Barthélémy, who 
ordered the unjust arrest of my flag of truce, having yesterday by 
the chance of war fallen into my hands, that officer will be dealt 
with according to the treatment which M. Moulin may receive. 

I most sincerely witih that nothing may occur to change the noble 


and humane conduct whicli the two nations have hitherto been ac- 
customed to observe towards each other. I have the honour, etc., 

(Signed) Colli. 

Ceva, llth April 1796. 

Bonaparte replied as follows : — 

General^ -^An emigrant is a parricide whom no character can 
render sacred. The feelings of honour, and the respect due to the 
French people, were forgotten when M. Moulin was sent with a flag 
of truce. You know the laws of war, and I therefore do not give 
credit to the reprisals with which you threaten the chief of brigade, 
Barthélémy. If, contrary to the laws of war. you authorise such an 
act of barbarism, all the prisoners taken from you shall be imme- 
diately made responsible for it with the most deplorable vengeance, 
for I entertain for the officers of your nation that esteem which is 
due to brave soldiers. 

The Executive Directory, to whom these letters were 
transmitted, approved of the arrest of M. Moulin ; but 
ordered that he should be securely guarded, and not 
brought to trial, in consequence of the character with 
which he had been invested. 

About the middle of the 3'ear 179G the Directory pro- 
posed to appoint General Kellerman, who commanded the 
army of the Alps, second in command of the army of Italy. 

On the 24th of May 179G Bonaparte wrote to Carnot 
respecting this plan, which was far from being agreeable 
to him. He said, "Whether I shall be employed here or 
anywhere else is indifferent to mc : to servo the country, 
and to merit from posterity a page in our history, is all 
my ambition. If you join Kellerman and mo in command 
in Italy you will undo everything. General Kellerman 
has more experience than I, and knows how to make war 
better than I do ; but both together, we shall make it 
ba<lly. I will not willingl}' servo with a man who con- 
eiders liimself tlie first g(jn(îral in Europe." 

Numbers of letters from Bonaparte to his wife have beeu 
Vol. L-4 


published. I cannot deny their authenticity, nor is it my 
wish to do so. I will, however, subjoin one which appears 
to me to difier a little from the rest. It is less remarkable 
for exaggerated expressions of love, and a singularly am- 
bitious and affected style, than most of the correspondence 
here alluded to. Bonaparte is announcing the victory of 
Areola to Josephine. 

Verona, tfie29lh, noonj 
At lengtli, my adored Josephine, I live again. Death is no longer 
before me, and glory and honour are still in my breast. The enemy 
is beaten at Areola. To-morrow we will repair the blunder of Vau- 
bois, who abandoned Rivoli. In eight days 3Iantua will be ours, 
and then thy husband will fold thee in his arms, and give thee a 
thousand proofs of his ardent alrection. I shall proceed to Milan as 
soon as I can : I am a little fatigued, I have received letters from 
Eugene and Hortense. I am delighted with the chiMren. I will 
send you their letters as soon as I am joined by my household, which 
is now somewhat dispersed. 

We have made five thousand prisoners, and killed at least six 
thousand of the enemy. Adieu, my adorable Josephine. Think of 
me often. When you cease to love your Achilles, when your heart 
grows cool towards him, you will be very cruel, very unjust. But 
I am sure you will always continue my faithful mistress as I shall 
ever remain your fond lover {tendre amie). Death alone can break 
the union which sympathy, love, and sentiment have formed. Let 
me have news of your health. A thousand and a thqusand kisses. 

It is imjoossible for me to avoid occasionally placing 
myself in the foreground in the course of these Memoirs. 
I owe it to myself to answer, though indirectly, to certain 
charges which, on various occasions, have been made 
against me. Some of the documents which I am about to 
insert belong, perhaps, less to the history' of the General- 
in-Chief of the army of Italy than to that of his secretary ; 
but I must confess I wish to show that I was not an in- 
truder, nor yet pursuing, as an obscure intriguer, the 
path of fortune. I was influenced much more by friend- 
ship than by ambition when I took a part on the scene 

> There ia no other dtito ; but the uaiue of Areola is sufficictit.— .Bc»M>rje««tf. 


where the rising glory of the f utui-e EmiDeror abeady shed 
a lustre on all who were attached to his destiny. It will 
be seen by the following letters with what confidence I 
was then honoured ; but these letters, dictated by friend- 
Bhip, and not written for history, speak also of our military 
achievements ; and whatever brings to recollection the 
events of that heroic period must still be interesting to 

Headquarters at Milan, 
20th Prairial, year IV. (8fA June 1796). 

The General-in-Chief has ordered me, my dear Bourrienne, to 
make known to you the pleasure he experienced on hearing of you, 
and his ardent desire that you should join us. Take your depar- 
ture, then, my dear Bourrienne, and arrive quickly. You may be 
certain of obtaining the testimonies of affection which are your due 
from all who know you ; and we much regret that you were not 
with us to have a share in our success. The campaign which we 
have just concluded will be celebrated in the records of history. 
With less than 30,000 men, in a state of almost complete destitu- 
tion, it is a fine thing to have, in the course of less than two montlis, 
beaten, eight different times, an army of from G5 to 70,000 men, 
obliged the King of Sardinia to make a humiliating peace, and 
driven the Austrians from Italy. Tlie last victory, of which you 
have doubtless had an account, the passage of the Mincio, has closed 
our labours. There now remain for us the siege of Mantua and the 
castle of Milan ; but these obstacles will not detain us long. Adieu, 
my dear Bourrienne : I repeat General Bonaparte's request thatyoq 
should repair hither, and the testimony of his desire to see you. 
Ileceive, etc., (Signed) Makmoxt. 

Chief of Brigade {ArtiUery), and Aide de cam}} to the Gciicral-iii-Chùf 

I was obliged to remain at Sens, soliciting my erasur* 
from the emigrant list, which I did not obtain, however, 
till 17i)7, and to put an end to a cliargo made against me 
of having fabricated a certificate of residence. Mcanwhilo 
I applied myself to study, and preferred repose to tho 
agitation of camps. For those rc^asons I did not then ac- 
cept this friendly invitation, nohvillisfanding tliat I was 
very de.siroua of seeing my young college friend in the 

52 MJ<:M01RS of napoleon BONAPARTE. 1705^ 

midst of his astonisliing triiimplis. Ten months after, I 
received another letter from Marmont, in the following 
terms : — 

Headquarters, Gorizia, 
2d Germinal, year V. {2-2d March 1797). 

Tlie General in-Cliief, my dear Bourrienne, has ordered me to ex- 
press to you his wish for your prompt arrival here. We have all 
along anxiously desired to see you, and look forward with great 
pleasure to the moment when we shall meet. I join with the Gen- 
eral, my dear Bourrienne, in urging you to join the army without 
loss of time. You will increase a united family, happy to receive 
you into its bosom. I enclose an order written by the General, 
which will serve you as a passport. Take the post route and arrive as 
soon as you can. We are on the point of penetrating into Germany. 
The language is changing already, and in four days we shall hear 
no more Italian. Prince Charles has been well beaten, and we are 
pursuing hiin. If this campaign be fortunate, we may sign a peace, 
which is so necessary for Europe, in Vienna. Adieu, my dear 
Bourrienne : reckon for something the zeal of one who is much at- 
tached to you. (Signed) Marmont. 


Jleadqiinri^n's. Gorizia, 2d Germinal, year V. 
TJie citizen Bourrienne is to come to me on receipt of the pres- 
ent order» {Signed) 


The odious manner in which I was then harassed, I 
know not wliy, on the part of the Government respecting 
my certificate of residence, rendered my stay in France 
not very agreeable. I was even threatened with being 
put on my trial for having produced a certificate of resi- 
dence which was alleged to be signed by nine false wit- 
nesses. This time, tlierefore, I resolved without hesita- 
tion to set out for the army. General Bonaparte's order, 
which I registered at the municipality of Sens, answered 
for a passport, which otherwise would probably Lave been 


refused me. I have always felt a strong sense of gratitude 
for his conduct towards me on this occasion. 

Notwithstanding the haste I made to leave Sens, the 
necessary formalities and precautions detained me some 
days, and at the moment I was about to depart I received 
the following letter : — • 

Headquarters, Judenboubg, 
\%th Germinal, year V. (8th April 1797). 
The General-in-Chief again orders me, my dear Bourrienne, to 
urge you to come to him quickly. We are lu the midst of success 
and triumphs. The German campaign begins even more brilliantly 
than did the Italian. You may judge, therefore, what a promise it 
holds out to us. Come, my dear Bourrienne, immediately — yield 
to our solicitations — sliare our pains and pleasures, and you will add 
to our enjoyments. 

I have directed the courier to pass through Sens, that he may de- 
liver this letter to you, and bring me back your answer, 

(Signed) Marmont. 

To the above letter this order was subjoined : — 

The citizen Fauvelet de Bourrienne is ordered to leave Sens, and 
repair immediately by post to tlie headquarters of the army of Italy. 

(Signed) Bonapahte. 

I arrived at the Venetian territory at the moment when 
the insurrection against the French was on the point of 
breaking out. Thousands of peasants were instigated to 
rise under the pretext of appeasing the troubles of Ber- 
gamo and Brescia. I passed througli Verona on the IGth 
of April, the eve of the signature of tlie preliminaries of 
Leoben and of the revolt of Verona. Easter Sunday was 
the day whi(!h the ministers of Jesus Christ selected for 
preaching " that it was lawful, and even meritorious, to 
kill Jacobins." DeaUi to Frenchmen ! — Death to Jacobins! 
ns they called all the French, wore their rallying cries. At 
the time I had not the slight (!st idea of this state of 
things, for I had left Sons only on the lltli of April 


After stopi^ing two liours at Verona, I proceeded on my 
journey without being aware of the massacre which 
threatened that city. When about a league from the 
town I was, however, stopped by a partj^ of insurgents on 
their way thither, consisting, as I estimated, of about two 
thousand men. They only desired me to cry El viva 
Santo Marco, an order with which I speedily comphed, 
and passed on. What would have become of me had I 
been in Yerona on the Monday? On that day the bells 
were rung, while the French were butchered in the hos- 
pitals. Every one met in the streets was put to death. 
The priests headed the assassins, and more than four hun- 
dred Frenchmen were thus sacrificed. The forts held out 
against the Venetians, though they attacked them with 
fury ; but repossession of the town was not obtained until 
after ten days. On the very day of the insurrection of 
Verona some Frenchmen were assassinated between that 
city and Vicenza, through which I passed on the day be- 
fore without danger ; and scarcely had I passed through 
Padua, when I learned that others had been massacred 
there. Thus the assassinations travelled as rapidly as the 

I shall say a few words respecting the revolt of the 
Venetian States, which, in consequence of the difference 
of political opinions, has been viewed in very contradic- 
tor}' lights. 

The last days of Venice were approaching, and a storm 
had been brewing for more than a year. About the be- 
ginning of April 1797 the threatening symptoms of a 
general insurrection aj^peared. The quarrel commenced 
when the Austrians entered Peschiera, and some pretext 
was also afforded by the reception given to Monsieur, 
afterwards Louis XVIII. It was certain that Venice had 
made military preparations during the siege of Mantua 
in 1796. The interests of the aristocracy outweighed the 
political considerations in our favour. On the 7th of 


June 1796 General Bonaparte wrote thus to the Execu- 
tive Dii'ectory : 

The Senate of Venice lately sent two judges of their Council here 
to ascertain definitively how things atand. I repeated my com- 
plaints. I spoke to them about the reception given to Monsieur. 
Should it be your plan to extract five or six millions from Venice, 
I have exiyressly prepared this sort of rupture for you. If your in- 
tentions be more decided^ I think this ground of quarrel ought to be 
kept up. Let me know what you mean to do, and wait till the 
favourable moment, which I shall seize according to circumstances; 
for we must not have to do with all the world at once. 

The Dh'ectory answered that the moment was not 
favourable ; that it was first necessary to take Mantua, 
and give Wurmser a sound beating. However, towards 
the end of the year 1796 the Directory began to give 
more credit to the sincerity of the professions of neutral- 
ity made on the part of Venice. It was resolved, there- 
fore, to be content with obtaining money and supplies for 
the army, and to refrain from violating the neutrality. 
The Directory had not then in reserve, like Bonaparte, 
the idea of making the dismemberment of Venice serve 
as a compensation for such of the Austrian possessions as 
the French Republic might retain. 

In 1797 the exj^ectcd favourable moment had arrived. 
The knell of Venice was rung ; and Bonaparte thus 
wrote to the Directory on the 30th of April : "I am con- 
vinced that the only course to be now taken is to destroy 
tliis ferocious and sanguinary Government." On the 3d 
of May, writing from Palma Nuova, ho says.- '*I see 
nothing that can be done but to obliterate the Venetian 
name from the face of tlie globe." 

Towards the end of March 1797 the Govei-nmont of 
Venice was in a desperate state. Ottohiii, ilic Podesta of 
Bergamo, an iustnimeut of tyranny in iho hamls of the 
State incpiisitors, tlicii liarasscd ilio pcojjhi of licrgamo 
and Brescia, who, after tlu; reduction of IMautua, wished 


to be separated from Venice. He drew up, to be sent to 
the Senate, a long report respecting the plans of separa- 
tion, founded on information given him by a Roman ad- 
vocate, named Marcelin Serpini, who pretended to have 
gleaned the facts he communicated in conversation with 
officers of the French army. The plan of the patriotic 
party was, to unite the Venetian territories on the main- 
land with Lombardy, and to form of the whole one re- 
public. The conduct of Ottolini exasj^erated the party 
inimical to Venice, and augmented the prevailing discon- 
tent. Having disguised his valet as a peasant, he sent 
him off to Venice with the report he had drawn up on 
Serpini's communications, and other information ; but 
this report never reached the inquisitors. The valet was 
arrested, his despatches taken, and Ottolini fled from 
Bergamo. This gave a beginning to the general rising of 
the Venetian States. In fact, the force of circumstances 
alone brought on the insurrection of those territories 
against their old insular government. General La Hoz, 
who commanded the Lombard Legion, was the active 
protector of the revolution, which certainly had its origin 
more in the progress of the prevailing principles of lib- 
erty than in the crooked policy of the Senate of Venice. 
Bonaparte, indeed, in his despatches to the Directory, 
stated that the Senate had instigated the insurrection ; 
but that was not quite correct, and he could not wholly 
beheve his own assertion. 

Pending the vacillation of the Venetian Senate, Vienna 
was exciting the population of its States on the mainland 
to rise against the French. The Venetian Government had 
always exhibited an extreme aversion to the French Revo- 
lution, which had been violently condemned at Venice. 
Hatred of the French had been constantly excited and en- 
couraged, and religious fanaticism had inflamed many 
persons of consequence in the country. From the end of 
1796 the Venetian Senate secretly continued its arma- 


ments, and the whole conduct of that Government an- 
nounced intentions which have been called perfidious, but 
the only object of which was to defeat intentions still 
more perfidious. The Senate was the irreconcilable enemy 
of the French Republic. Excitement was carried to such 
a point that in many places the people complained that 
they were not permitted to arm against the French. The 
Austrian generals industriously circulated the most sinis- 
ter reports respecting the armies of the Sambre-et-Meuse 
and the Rhine, and the position of the French troops in 
the Tyrol. These impostures, printed in bulletins, were 
well calculated to instigate the Italians, and especially the 
Venetians, to rise in mass to exterminate the French, when 
the victorious army should penetrate into the Hereditary 

The pursuit of the Archduke Charles into the heart of 
Austria encouraged the hopes which the Venetian Senate 
had conceived, that it would be easy to annihilate the feeble 
remnant of the French army, as the troops were scattered 
through the States of Venice on the mainland. Wherever 
the Senate had the ascendency, insurrection was secretly 
fomented ; wherever the influence of the patriots prevailed, 
ardent efforts were made to unite the Venetian terra firma 
to the Lombard Republic. 

Bonaparte skilfully took advantage of the disturbances, 
and the massacres consequent on them, to adopt towards 
the Senate the tone of an offended conqueror. He pub- 
lislied a declaration that the Venetian Government was the 
most treacherous imaginable. The weakness and cruel 
hypocrisy of the Senate facilitated the plan he had con- 
ceived of making a peace for France at the expense of the 
Venetian Republic. On returning from Lcobcn, a con- 
queror and i);u;i(icator, he, witliout ceremony, took posses- 
sion of Venice, changed tlie established government, and, 
master of all the Venetian territory, found himself, in the 
negotiations of Campo Formio, able to dispose of it as lie 


pleased, as a compeusation for tlie cessions which had 
been exacted from Austria. After the 19th of May he 
wrote to the Directory that one of the objects of his treaty 
with Venice was to avoid bringing upon us the odium of 
violatiDg the preliminaries relative to the Venetian terri- 
tory, and, at the same time, to afford pretexts and to facili- 
tate their execution. 

At Campo Formio the fate of this republic was decided. 
It disappeared from the number of States without effort or 
noise. The silence of its fall astonished imaginations 
warmed by historical recollections from the brilliant pages 
of its maritime glory. Its power, however, which had been 
silently undermined, existed no longer except in the pres- 
tige of those recollections. What resistance could it have 
opposed to the man destined to change the face of all Eu- 

1797. 59 



Signature of the preliminaries of peace — Fall of Venice — My arrival and 
reception at Leoben — Bonaparte wishes to pursue his success — The 
Directory opposes him — He wishes to advance on Vienna — Movement 
of the army of the Sainbre-et-Meuse — Bonaparte's dissatisfaction 
— Arrival at Milan — We take up our residence at Montebello — Napo- 
leon's judgment respecting Dandoio and Melzi. 

I JoixED Bonaparte at Leoben on the lOtli of April, the 
day after the signature of the prehminaries of peace. 
These preHminaries resembled in no respect the definitive 
treaty of Campo Forniio. The still incomplete fall of the 
State of Venice did not at that time present an available 
prey for partition. All was arranged afterwards. Woe 
to the small States that come in immediate contact with 
two colossal empires waging war ! 

Here terminated my connection with Bonaparte as a 
comrade and equal, and those relations with him com- 
menced in which I saw him suddenly great, powerful, 
and surrounded with homage and glory. I no longer 
addressed liim as I had been accustomed to do. I appre- 
ciated too well his personal importance. His position 
l)laced too great a social distance between him and me not 
to make me feel the necessity of fashioning my demeanour 
accordingly. I made with pleasure, and without regret, 
the easy sacrifice of tlie stylo of familiar companionship 
and other little privileges. He said, in aloud voice, when 
I entered the .salon where he was surrounded ])y the 
officiers who formed liis brilliant stalT, **I am glad to sco 
yon, at last " — " 7c voila done, cnjin ; " but us s«ou as we 


were alone he made me understand that he was pleased 
with my reserve, and thanked me for it. I was immedi- 
ately placed at the head of his Cabinet. I spoke to him 
the same evening respecting the insurrection of the Vene- 
tian territories, of the dangers which menaced the French, 
and of those which I had escaped, etc. " Care thou' 
nothing about it," said he ; " those rascals shall pay for it. 
Their republic has had its day, and is done." This repub- 
lic was, however, still existing, wealthy and powerful. 
These words brought to my recollection what I had read 
in a work by one Gabriel Naude, who wrote during the 
reign of Louis XIII. for Cardinal de Bagin : "Do you see 
Constantinople, which flatters itself with being the seat 
of a double empire ; and Venice, which glories in her 
stability of a thousand years ? Their day will come.'' 

In the first conversation which Bonaparte had with me, 
I thought I could perceive that he was not very well satisfied 
with the preliminaries. He would have liked to advance 
with his army to Vienna. He did not conceal this from 
me. Before he offered peace to Prince Charles, he wrote 
to the Directory that he intended to pursue his success, 
but that for this purpose he reckoned on the co-operation 
of the armies of the Sambre-et-Meuse and the Rhine. 
The Directory replied that he must not reckon on a diver- 
sion in Germany, and that the armies of the Sambre-et- 
Meuse and the Rhine were not to pass that river. A 
resolution so unexpected — a declaration so contrary to 
what he had constantly solicited, compelled him to termi- 
nate his triumphs, and renounce his favourite project of 
planting the standard of the republic on the ramparts of 
Vienna, or at least of levying contributions on the suburbs 
of that capital. 

A law of the 23d of August 1704 forbade the use of any 
other names than those in the register of births. I wished 
to conform to this law, which very foolishly interfered with 

> He used to tutoyer mc iu this familiar inauncr uutil his return to Milan. 


old habits. My eldest brother was living, and I therefore 
designated mj^self Fauvelet the younger. This annoyed 
General Bonaparte. *' Such change of name is absolute 
nonsense," said he. " I have known you for twenty years 
by the name of Bourrienne. Sign as you still are named, 
and see what the advocates with their laws will do." 

On the 20th of April, as Bonaparte was returning to 
Italy, he was obliged to stop on an island of the Taglia- 
mento, while a torrent passed by, which had been occasioned 
by a violent storm. A courier appeared on the right bank 
of the river. He reached the island. Bonaparte read in 
the despatches of the Directory that the armies of the 
Sambre-et-Meuse and the Rhine were in motion ; that they 
were preparing to cross the Rhine, and had commenced 
hostilities on the very day of the signing of the preliminaries. 
This information arrived seven days after the Directory had 
written that " he must not reckon on the co-operation of 
the armies of Germany." It is impossible to describe the 
General's vexation on reading these despatches. He had 
signed the preliminaries only because the Government 
had represented the co-operation of the armies of the 
Rhine as impracticable at that moment, and shortly after- 
wards he was informed that the co-operation was about to 
take place ! The agitation of his mind was so great that 
he for a moment conceived the idea of crossing to the left 
bank of the Tagliamcnto, and breaking off the negotiations 
uiidor some pretext or otlier. He persisted for some time 
ill this resolution, which, however, Bcrthier and some 
otlior generals successfully op2)osed. IIo exclaimed, 
" What a difference would there have been in the pre- 
liminaries, if, inde(!(l, there liad been any !" 

His cliagrin, I might ahnost say his despair, increased 
when, some days aficT liis entry into the Venetian States, 
he received a letter from !Morcau, dated the 23d of 
April, in which that g(;nenil infr)rii)ed him that, having 
passed the Rhino on the 201 li with brilliant success, and 


taken four thousand prisoners, it would not be long before 
he joined him. "Who, in fact, can say what would have 
happened but for the vacillating and distrustful policy of 
the Directory, which always encouraged low intrigues, and 
participitated in the jealousy excited by the renown of 
the young conqueror? Because the Directory dreaded 
his ambition they sacrificed the glory of our arms and the 
honour of the nation ; for it cannot be doubted that, had 
the passage of the Rhine, so urgently demanded by Bona- 
parte, taken place some days sooner, he would have been 
able, without incumng any risk, to dictate imperiously 
the conditions of peace on the spot ; or, if Austria were 
obstinate, to have gone on to Vienna and signed it there. 
Still occupied with this idea, he wrote to the Directory on 
the 8th of May : " Since I have received intelligence of 
the passage of the Bhine by Hoche and Moreau, I much 
regret that it did not take place fifteen days sooner ; or, at 
least, that Moreau did not say that he was in a situation 
to effect it." (He had been informed to the contrary.) 
^Vhat, after this, becomes of the unjust reproach against 
Bouaj^arte of having, through jealousy of Moreau, deprived 
France of the advantages which a prolonged campaign 
would have procured her ? Bonaparte was too devoted to 
the glory of France to sacrifice it to jealousy of the glory 
of any individual. 

In traversing the Venetian States to return to Milan, he 
often spoke to me of Venice. He always assured me that 
he was originally entirely unconnected Avith the insurrec- 
tions which had agitated that country ; that common 
sense would show, as his project was to advance into the 
basin of the Danube, he had no interest in having his 
rear disturbed by revolts, and his communications inter- 
rupted or cut off. " Such an idea," said he, " would 
be absurd, and could never enter into the mind of a 
man to whom even his enemies cannot deny a certain 
degree of tact." He acknowledged that he was not 


vexed that matters had turned out as tliey liad done, 
because lie had already taken advantage of these cir- 
cumstances in the preUminaries and hoped to profit still 
more from them in the definitive peace. *' When I arrive 
at Milan," said he, "I will occupy myself with Venice." 
It is therefore quite evident to me that in reality the 
General-in-Chief had nothing to do with the Venetian 
insurrections ; that subsequently he was not displeased 
with them ; and that, later still, he derived great ad- 
vantage from them. 

We arrived at Milan on the 5th of May, by way of 
Leybach, Trieste, Palma-Nuova, Padua, Verona, and 
Mantua. Bonaparte soon took up his residence at 
Montebello, a very fine château, three leagues from 
Milan, with a view over the rich and magnificent plains 
of Lombardy. At Montebello commenced the negotia- 
tions for the definitive peace which were terminated at 
Passeriano. The Marquis de Gallo, the Austrian pleni- 
potentiary, resided half a league from Montebello. 

During his residence at Montebello the General-in Chief 
made an excursion to the Lake of Como and to the Lago 
Maggiore. He visited the Borromean Islands in succession, 
and occupied himself on his return with the organisation 
of the towns of Venice, Genoa, and Milan. He sought for 
men and found none. " Good God," said he, "how rai-e 
men are ! There are eighteen millions in Italy, and I have 
with difficulty found two, Dandolo and Melzi." 

He appreciated them properly. Dandolo was one of 
the men who, in those revolutionary times, reflected the 
greatest honour upon Italy. After being a member of the 
great council of tlio Cisalpine llo])ul)lic, he exercised the 
functions of Proveditore-Geueral in Dalmatia. It is only 
necessary to mention the name of Dandolo to the Dalum- 
tians to learn from tlie grateful inhabitants how just and 
vigonnis his administration was. 'J'lio services of I\Ifly,i 
are known. Ho was Chancellor and Keeper of the 


Seals of the Italian monarchy, and was created Duke of 

In those who have seen the world the truth of Napoleon's 
reproach excites little astonishment. In a country which, 
according to biographies and newspapers, abounds with 
extraordinary men, a woman of much talent^ said, "What 
has most surprised me, since the elevation of my husband 
has afforded me the opportunity of knowing many persons, 
and particularly those employed in important affairs, is 
the universal mediocrity which exists. It surpasses all 
that the imagination can conceive, and it is observable 
in all ranks, from the clerk to the minister. Without this 
experience I never could have believed my species to be so 

Who does not remember Oxenstiern's remark to his son, 
who trembled at going so young to the congress of Mun- 
ster : "Go, my son. You will see by what sort of men 
the world is governed." 

' Francesco, Comte de Melzi d'Eryl (1753-1816), Vice-President of the Italian 
Republic, 1802 ; Chancellor of the Kingdom of Italy, 1805 ; Due de Lodi, 1807. 
2 Madame Roland. 

1^91 65 


Napoleon's correspondence — Release of French prisoners at Olmutz— 
Negotiations with Austria — Bonaparte's dissatisfaction — Letter of 
complaint from Bonaparte to the Executive Directory — Note respect- 
ing the affairs of Venice and the Club of Clichy, written by Bonaparte 
and circulated in the army — Intercepted letter of the Emperor Francis. 

During the time when the preHminaries of Leoben sus- 
pended military operations, Napoleon was not anxious to 
reply immediately to all letters. He took a fancy to do, 
not exactly as Cardinal Dubois did, when he threw into 
the fire the letters he had received, saying, "There ! my 
coiTespondents are answered," but something of the same 
kind. To satisfy himself that people wi*ote too much, 
and lost, in trifling and useless answers, valuable time, he 
told me to open only the letters which came by extraordi- 
nary couriers, and to leave all the rest for three weeks in 
the basket. At the end of that time it was unnecessary 
to reply to four-fifths of these communications. Some 
were themselves answers ; some were acknowledgments 
of letters received ; others contained requests for favours 
already granted, but of which intelligence had not been 
received. Many were filled with complaints respecting 
provisions, pay, or clothing, and orders had been issued 
upon all these points before the letters were written. 
Some generals demanded reinforcements, money, pro- 
motion, etc. By not opening their letters Bonaparte was 
spared the unpleasing ofiico of refusing. "When the General- 
in-Cliief compared the very small number of letters wliich 
it was necessary to answer with the largo number which 
Vol. I.— 5 


time alone bad answered, he laughed heartilj- at his whimsi- 
cal idea. V\'ould not this mode of proceeding be prefer- 
able to that of causing letters to be opened by any one 
■who may be employed, and replying to them by a circular 
to which it is only necessary to attach a date ? 

During the negotiations which followed the treaty of 
Leoben, the Directory ordered General Bonaparte to de- 
mand the liberty of MM. de La Fayette, Latour-Maubourg, 
and Bureau de Puzy, detained at Olniutz since 1792 as 
prisoners of state. The General-in-Chief executed this 
commission with as much pleasure as zeal, but he often 
met with difficulties which appeared to be insurmount- 
able. It has been very incorrectly stated that these pris- 
oners obtained their liberty by one of the articles of 
the preliminaries of Leoben. I w^rote a great deal on 
this subject to the dictation of General Bonaparte, and I 
joined him only on the day after the signature of these 
preliminaries. It w-as not till the end of May of the year 
1797 that the liberation of these captives w^as demanded, 
and they did not obtain tlieir freedom till the end of 
August. There was no article in the treat}^ jDublic or 
secret, which had reference to them. Neither was it at 
his own suggestion that Bonaparte demanded the en- 
largement of the prisoners, but by order of the Directory. 
To explain why they did not go to France immediately 
after their liberation from Olmutz, it is necessary to rec- 
ollect that the events of the 18th Fructidor occurred be- 
tween the period when the first steps were taken to j^ro- 
cure their liberty and the date of their deliverance. It 
required all Bonaparte's ascendency and vigour of char- 
acter to enable him to succeed in his object at the end of 
three months. 

"We had arrived at the month of July, and the negotia- 
tions were tediously protracted. It was impossible to 
attribute the embarrassment which was constantly occur- 
ring to anything but tlie artful i)()licy of Austria. Other 

1797. CmiTICISMS 02T B02T APARTE. 67 

affairs occupied Bonaparte. The news from Paris en- 
grossed all liis attention. He saw with extreme displeas- 
ure the manner in which the influential orators of the 
councils, and pamphlets written in the same spirit as they 
spoke, criticised him, his army, his victories, the affairs of 
Venice, and the national glory. He was quite indignant 
at the suspicions which it was sought to create respecting 
his conduct and ulterior views. 

The following excer^Dts, attributed to the pens of Du- 
mouriez or Rivarol, are specimens of some of the com- 
ments of the time : — 

Extracts of Letters in "Le Spectatuer du Nord" of 1797. 

General Boùaparte is, without contradiction, tlie most brilliant 
warrior who has appeared at the head of the armies of the French 
Republic. His glorj' is incompatible with democratic equality, and 
the services he has rendei-ed are too great to be recompensed ex- 
cept by hatred and ingratitude. He is very young, and consequently 
has to pursue a long career of accusations and of persecutions. 

. . . Whatever may be the crowning event of his military 
career, Bonaparte is still a great man. All his glory is due to him- 
Belf alone, because he alone has developed a character and a genius 
of which no one else has furnished an example. 

Extract of Letter of ISth April 1797 m 
"Le Spectateur du Nord." 
Regard, for instance, this wretched war. Uncertain in Cham- 
pagne, it becomes dariug under Dumouriez, unbridled under the 
brigands who fought the Vendueaus, methodic under Pichegru, 
vulgar under Jourdau, skilled under Moreau, rash under Bona- 
parte. Each general has put the seal of his genius on his car.'cr, 
and has given life or de^th to his army. From the commencement 
of his career Bonaparte has developed an ardent character which is 
irritated by ob.stacles, and a (juickness wliich forestalls every do- 
termination of the enemy. It is with heavitir and lieavier blows 
that lie strikes. He tlirowa his army on the eiu-my like an un- 
loosed torrent. He is all action, and ho is so in everytliing. See 
him fight, n(\gotiato, decree, punisli, all is the matter of a moment. 
He compromises witli Turin as with Rome. He invades Modena as 
he burns Binasco. Ho never hesitates : to cut the Oordian knot ia 
alwayb his method. 

6a 3rEMoins of napoleon Bonaparte, itdt 

Bonaj^arte could not endure to have bis conduct predi- 
cated ; and enraged at seeing his campaigns depreciated, 
his glory and that of his army disparaged,' and intrigues 
formed against him in the Club of Clichy, he wrote the 
following letter to the Directory : — 

To THE President op the Executive Directory. 

I have just received, Citizens-Directors, a copy of the motion of 
Dnmolard (28d June 1797). 

Tliis motion, printed by order of the Assembly, it is evident, is 
directed against me. I was entitled, after having five times con- 
cluded peace, and given a death-blow to the coalition, if not to civio 
triumphs, at least to live tranquilly under the protection of the first 
magistrates of the Republic. At present I find myself ill-treated, 
persecuted, and disparaged, by every shameful means which their 
policy brings to the aid of persecution. I would liave been indif- 
ferent to all except that species of opprobrium with which the first 
magistrates of the Republic endeavour to overwhelm me. After 
having deserved well of my country by my last act, I am not bound 
«,0 hear myself accused in a manner as absurd as atrocious. I have 
not expected that a manifesto, signed by emigrants, paid by Eng- 
land, should obtain more credit with the Council of Five Iluiidred 
than the evidence of eighty thousand men — than mine 1 WhatI 
we were assassinated by traitors — upwards of four hundred men 
perished ; and the first magistrates of the Republic make it a crime 
to have believed the statement for a moment. Upwards of four 
huuiîred Frenchmen were dragged through the streets. They 
were assassinated before the eyes of the governor of the fort. They 
were pierced with a thousand blows of stilettos, such as I sent you — ■ 
and the representatives of the French people cause it to be printed, 
that if they believed this fact for an instant, they were excusable. 
I know well there are societies where it is said, "Is tliis blood, then, 
BO pure ? " 

If only base men, who are dead to the feeling of patriotism and 
national glory, liad spoken of me thus, I would not have com- 
plained. I would have disregarded it ; but I have a right to com- 

• The cxtraonlinaiTr folly of the opposition to the Directory in throwing Bona 
parte on to the side of the Directory, will be seen by roadinp the speech of Dnmo- 
lard. so oft^n referred, to by Bourriennc {Thiers, vol. v. i)p. 110-111), and by the 
attemptH of Alalhim PnrnaH to remove the impression that the opposition slighted 
the fortunate General. (See Ditinas, tome ill. p. 90 ; see also JAinfrey^ tomo i. ppk 


plain of the degradation to wliicli the first magistrates of the Re» 
public reduce those who have aggrandised, and carried the French 
name to so high a pitch of glory. Citizens-Directors, I reiterate the 
demand I made for my dismissal ; I wish to live in tranquillity, if 
the poniards of Clichy will allow me to live. You have employed 
me in negotiations. I am not very fit to conduct them. 

About the same time he drew up the following note 
respecting the afifairs of Venice, which was printed with- 
out the author's name, and circulated through the whole 
army : — 


Bonaparte, pausing before the gates of Turin, Parma, Rome, and 
Vienna, offering peace when he was sure of obtaining nothing but 
fresh triumphs — Bonaparte, whose every operation exhibits respect 
for religion, morality, and old age ; who, instead of heaping, as he 
might have done, dishonour upon the Venetians, and humbling their 
republic to the earth, loaded her with acts of kindness, and took 
Buch great interest in her glory — is this the same Bonaparte who is 
accused of destroying the ancient Government of Venice, and de- 
mocratising Genoa, and even of interfering in the affairs of the 
prudent and worthy people of the Swiss Cantons? Bonaparte had 
passed the Tagliamento, and entered Germany, when insurrections 
broke out in the Venetian States ; these insurrections were, there- 
fore, opposed to Bonaparte's project; surely, then, he could not 
favour them. When he was in the heart of Germany the Venetiang 
massacred more than four hundred French troops, drove their 
quarters out of Verona, assassinated the unfortunate Laugier, and 
presented the spectacle of a fanatical party in arms. lie returned 
to Italy ; and on his arrival, as the winds cease their agitation at 
the presence of Neptune, the whole of Italy, whicli was in com- 
motion, which was in arms, was restored to order. 

However, the deputies from Bonaparte drew up different articles 
conformable to the situation of the country, and in order to pre- 
vent, not a revolution in the Government, for the Government was 
defunct, and had died a natural death, but a crisis, and to save the 
city from convulsion, anarchy, and pillage. Bonaparte spared a 
division of liis army to save Venice froni j)illage and massacre. All 
tlie battalions were in the streets of Venice, the disturbers were put 
down, anrl the pillage discontinued. Property and trade were pre- 
served, wlien (JeiKtral liaragiicy d'Hilliers entered Venice witli his 
division. Bonaparte, as usual, spared blood, and was the protector 

70 MEMOIRS or 2iAP0L?:0X BOXAPARTE. 1797. 

of Venice. Whilst the French troops remained thev conducted 
tliemselves peaceably, and only interfered to sujiportthe provisional 

Bonaparte could not say to the deputies of Venice, who came to 
ask his protection and assistance against the populace, who wished 
to plunder them, "I cannot meddle with your afiairs." He could 
not say this, for Venice, and all its territories, had really formed 
the theatre of war ; and, being in the rear of the army of Italy, the 
Republic of Venice was really under the jurisdiction of that army. 
The rights of war confer upon a general the powers of supreme 
police over the countries which are the seat of war. As the great 
Frederick said, " There are no neutrals where there is war." 
Ignorant advocates and babblers have asked, in the Club of Clichy, 
why we occupy the territory of Venice. These declaimers should 
learn war, and they would know that the Adige, the Brenta, and 
the Tagliamento, where we have been fighting for two years, are 
within the Venetian States. But, gentlemen of Clichy, we are at 
no loss to perceive your meaning. You reproach the army of Italy 
for having surmounted all difficulties — for subduing all Italy — for 
having twice passed the Alps — for having marched on Vienna, and 
obliged Austria to acknowledge the Republic that you, men of 
Clichy, would destroy. You accuse Bonaparte, I see clearly, for 
having brought about peace. But I know you, and I speak in the 
name of eighty thousand soldiers. The time is gone when base 
advocates and wretched declaimers could induce soldiers to revolt. 
If, however, you compel them, the soldiers of the army of Italy 
will soon appear at the Barrier of Clichy, with their General. But 
woe unto you if they do ! 

Bonaparte having arrived at Palma-Nuova, issued a manifesto on 
the 2d of May 1707. Arrived at ]\restre, where he posted his troops, 
the Government sent three deputies to him, with a decree of the 
Great Council, without Bonaparte having solicited it and without 
his having thought of making any change in the Government of 
that country. The governor of Venice was an old man, ninety-nine 
years of age, confined by illness to his apartment. Everyone felt 
the necessity of renovating this Government of twelve hundred 
years' existence, and to simplify its machinery, in order to preserve 
its indejiendence, honour, and gloi-y. It was necessary to deliberate, 
first, on the manner of renovating tlie Government ; secondly, on 
the means of atoning for the massacre of the French, the iniquity 
of which every one was sensible. 

Bonaparte, after having received the deputation at IVIestre. told 
them that in order to obtain satisfaction for the assassination of hia 


bretliren in arms, he wished the Great Council to arrest the inquis- 
itors. He afterwards granted them an armistice, and appointed 
Milan as the place of conference. The deputies arrived at Milan 
on the ... A negotiation commenced to re establish liarmony be- 
tween the Governments. However, anarchy, with all its horrors, 
afflicted the city of Venice. Ten thousand Sclavonians threatened 
to pillage the shops. Bonaparte acquiesced in the proposition sub- 
mitted by the deputies, who promised to verify the loss which had 
been sustained by pillage. 

Bonaparte also addressed a manifesto to the Doge, 
winch appeared in all the public papers. It contained 
fifteen articles of complaint, and was followed by a decree 
ordering the French Minister to leave Venice, the Venetian 
agents to leave Lombardy, and the Lion of St. Mark to be 
pulled down in all the Continental territories of Venice. 

The General-in-Chief now openly manifested his resolu- 
tion of marching on Paris ; and this disposition, which 
was well known in the army, was soon communicated to 
Vienna. At this period a letter from the Emperor Francis 
n. to his brother, the Grand Duke of Tuscany, -was inter- 
cepted by Bonaparte. I translated the letter, which proved 
to him that Francis II. was acquainted with his project. 
He likewise saw with pleasure the assurances which the 
Emperor gave his brotlier of his love of peace, as well as 
the wavering of the imperial resolves, and the incertitude 
respecting the fate of the Italian princes, which the Em- 
peror easily perceived to de2:)end on Bonaparte. The 
Emperor's letter was as follows : — 

My dear Brother — I punctually received your third letter, con- 
taining a description of your unhappy and delicate situation. You 
may be assured that T perceive it as clearly as you do yourself ; and 
I pity you the more because, in truth, T do not know what advice to 
give you. You are, like me, the victim of the former inactivity of 
the princes of Italy, who ought, at once, to have acted with all their 
united forces, while I still jiossesscd Mantua. If lionaparte's pro- 
ject be, as I learn, to ostabliHh republics in Italy, this is likely to 
•nd in spreading republicanism over the whole country. I have 


already commenced negotiations for peace, and the preliminaries 
are ratified. If the French observe them as strictly as I do, and 
will do, then your situation will be improved ; but already the 
French are beginning to disregard them. The principal problem 
which remains to be solved is, whether the French Directory ap- 
prove of Bonaparte's proceedings, and whether the latter, as appears 
by some papers distributed through his army, is not disposed to 
revolt against his country, which also seems to be probable, from 
his severe conduct towards Switzerland, notwithstanding the assur- 
ances of the Directory, that he had been ordered to leave the country 
untouched. If this should be the case, new and innumerable dif- 
ficulties may arise. Under these circumstances I can, at present, 
advise nothing ; for, as to myself, it is only time and the circum- 
stances of the moment which can point out how I am to act. 

There is nothing new here. We are all well ; but the heat is 
extraordinary. Always retain your friendship and love for me. 
Make my compliments to your wife, and believe me ever 

Your best Friend and Brother, 

Hetzendobf, July 20, 1797, 

1797. 73 


Unfounded reports — Caxnot — Capitulation of Mantua — General Clarke — 
The Directory yields to Bonaparte — Berthier — Arrival of Eugène 
Beauharnais at Milan — Comte Delauuay d'Entraigues — His inter- 
view with Bonaparte — Seizure of his papers — Copy of one describing a 
conversation between him and Comte de Montgaillard — The Em- 
peror Francis — The Prince de Condc and General Pichegru. 

While Bonaparte was expressing bis opinion on his cam- 
paigns and the injustice with which they had been criti- 
cised, it was generally believed that Carnot dictated to 
him from a closet in the Luxembourg all the plans of his 
operations, and that Berthier was at his right hand, with- 
out whom, notwithstanding Carnot's plans, which were 
often mere romances, he would have been greatly em- 
barrassed. This twofold misrepresentation was very cur- 
rent for some time ; and, notwithstanding it was contrary 
to the evidence of facts, it met with much credence, par- 
ticularly abroad. There was, however, no foundation for 
the opinion. Let us render to Cœsar that which is 
Cœsar's due. Bonaparte was a creator in the art of war, 
and no imitator. That no man was superior to him in 
that art is incontestable. At the commencement of the 
glorious campaign in Italy the Directory certainly sent 
out instructions to him ; but he always followed his own 
plans, and continually wrote back that all would be lost if 
movements conceived at a distance from the scene of 
action were to be blindly executed. He also offered to 
resign. At length the Dinnitory perceived the impossi- 
bility of prescribing operations of war according to the 


view of persons in Paris ; and when I became the secretar;y 
of the General-in-Chief I saw a despatch of the Directory, 
dated May, 1796, committing the whole plan of the cam- 
paign to his judgment ; and assuredly there was not a sin- 
gle operation or movement which did not originate with 
him. Carnot was obliged to j'ield to his firmness. When 
the Directory, towards the end of 1796, felt disposed to 
treat for peace. General Clarke, appointed to conclude the 
armistice, was authorised, in case Mantua should not be 
taken before the negotiation was brought to a close, to 
propose leaving the blockade in statu quo. Had such a 
condition been adopted it would doubtless have been stip- 
ulated that the Emperor of Austria should be allowed to 
provision the garrison and inhabitants of the city daj" by 
day. Bonaparte, convinced that an armistice without 
Mantua would by no means conduce to peace, earnestly 
opposed such a conditon. He carried his point ; Mantua 
capitulated, and the result is well known. Yet he was 
not blind to the hazards of war ; while preparing, during 
the blockade, an assault on Mantua, he wrote thus to the 
Directory : " A bold stroke of this nature depends abso- 
lutely for success on a dog or a goose." This w^as about 
a question of surprise. 

Bonaparte was exceedingly sensitive to the rumours 
which reached him respecting Carnot and Berthier. He 
one day said to me : " What gross stupidity is this? It 
is very well to say to a general, ' Depart for Italy, gain 
battles, and sign a peace at Vienna ; ' but the execution — 
that is not so easy. I never attached any value to the 
plans which the Directory sent me. Too many circum- 
stances occur on the spot to modify them. The move- 
ment of a single corps of the enemy's army may confound 
a whole plan arranged by the fireside. Only fools can 
believe such stuff. As for Berthier, since you have beeu 
with me, you see what he is — he is a blockhead. Yet it 
is he who does it all ; it is he who gathers a great jiart of 


the glory of the army of Italy." I told hiin that this 
erroneous opinion could not List long ; that each person 
would be allowed his merit, and that at least posterity 
would judge rightly. This observation seemed to please 

Berthier was a man full of honour, courage, and pro- 
bity, and exceedingly regular in the performance of his 
duties. Bonaparte's attachment to him arose more from 
habit than liking. Berthier did not concede with affa- 
bility, and refused with harshness. His abrupt, egotistic, 
and careless manners did not, however, create him many 
enemies, but, at the same time, did not make him many 
friends. In consequence of our frequent intercourse he 
had contracted the friendly pl-actice of sj^eaking to me in 
the second person singular ; but he never wrote to me in 
that style. He was perfectly acquainted with the disposi- 
tion of all the corps, and could name their commanders 
and their respective forces. Day or night he was always 
at hand and made out with clearness all the secondary 
orders which resulted from the disjDositions of the Gen- 
eral-in-Chief. In fact, he was an excellent head of the 
staff of an army ; but that is all the praise that can be 
given, and indeed he wished for no greater. He had such 
entire confidence in Bona2:)arte, and looked up to him 
with so much admiration, that he never would have pre- 
sumed to oppose his plans or give any advice. Bcrthicr's 
talent was very limited, and of a special nature ; his char- 
Mfler was one of extreme weakness. Bonaparte's friend- 
sliip for liim and tlio frequency of liis name in tlie bulle- 
tins and ofUcial dc^spatclios have unduly elevated his repu- 
tation. Bonaparte, giving his opinion to the Directory 
respecting the g(nierals enjployed in his army, said, "Ber- 
thier lias talents, activity, courage, character — all in his 
favour." This was in 17ÎH). He then made an eagle of 
liim ; at St. Helena he called him a goose. Ho should 
neither have raised him so hi^rh nor Buuk him so low. 


Berthier neither merited the one nor the other. Bona- 
parte was a man of habit ; he was much attached to all 
the people about him, and did not like new faces. Ber- 
thier loved him. He carried out his orders well, and that 
enabled him to pass off with his small portion of talent. 

It was about this time that young Beauharnais came to 
Milan. He was seventeen years old. He had lived in 
Paris with his mother since the departure of Bonaparte. 
On his arrival he immediately entered the service as aide 
de camp to the General-in-Chief, who felt for him an affec- 
tion which was justified by his good qualities. 

Comte Delaunay d'Entraigues, well known in the French 
Eevolution,^ held a diplomatic post at Venice when that 
city was threatened by the French. Aware of his being 
considered the agent of all the machinations then existing 
against France, and especially against the army of Italy, 
he endeavoured to escape ; but the city being surrounded, 
he was seized, together with all his papers. The ap- 
parently frank manners of the Count pleased Bonaparte, 
who treated him with indulgence. His papers were 
restored, with the exception of three relating to political 
subjects. He afterwards fled to Switzerland, and ungrate- 
fully rej^resented himself as having been . oppressed by 
Bonaparte. His false statements have induced many 
writers to make of him an heroic victim. He was assas- 
sinated by his own servant in 1802. 

I kept a copy of one of his most interesting papers. It 
has been much spoken of, and Fauche-Borel has, I believe, 
denied its authenticity and the truth of its contents. The 
manner in which it fell into the hands of the General-in- 
Cliicf, the importanco attached to it by d'Entraigues, the 
differences I have observed between the manuscript I 
copied and versions which I have since read, and the 
knowledge of its authenticity, having myself transcribed 
it from the handwriting of the Count, who in my presence 

» Thiers' French EevoluLiori, v. 113 ; lung, iii. 105 ; Miot de Jfelito, i. 170. 



vouclied for the truth of the facts it details — all these cir- 
cumstances induce me to insert it here, and compel me to 
doubt that it was, as Fauche-Borel asserted, a fabrication. 

This manuscript is entitled, My Gonmrsation with Comte 
de Montgaillard^ on the 4ith of December 1796, fivm Six in 
the Afternoon till Midnight, in the presence of the Abbé 

[On my copy are written the words, " Extracts from 
this conversation, made by me, from the original." I 
omitted what I thought unimportant, and transcribed only 
the most interesting passages. Montgaillard spoke of his 
escape, of his flight to England, of his return to France, 
of his second departure, and finally of his arrival at Bale 
in August 1795.] 

The Prince de Conde soon afterwards, he said, called me to 
Miilheim, and knowing the connections I had had in France, pro- 
posed that I should sound General Pichegru, whose lieadquarters 
were at Altkirch, where he then was, surrounded by four represen- 
tatives of the Convention. 

I immediately went to Neufchatel, taking with me four or five 
hundred louis. I cast my eyes on Fauche-Borel, the King's printer 
at Neufchatel, and also yours and mine, as the instrument by which 
to make the first overture, and I selected as his colleague M. Cour- 
ant, a native of Neufchatel. I persuaded thera to undertake the 
business : I supplied them with instructions and passports. They 
were foreigners : so I furnished tliera with all the necessary docu- 
ments to enable them to travel in France as foreign merchants and 
purchasers of national property. I went to Bale to wait for news 
from them. 

On the 13th of August Fauche and Courant set out for the head- 
quarters at Altkirch. They remained there eii^ht days without find- 
ing an opportunity to speak to Pichegru, who was surrounded by 
représentatives and generals. Pichegru obstM-ved them, and seeing 
them continually wberesoever ho went, he conjectured that thoy 
had something to say to hira, and he called out in a loud voice, 
while passing them, " Tarn f/oiîu/ to llanitujcn.''^ Fauche contrived 
to throw himself in his way at the end of a corridor. Pichegru ob- 
served him, and fixed his eyes upon him, and although it rained in 
torrents, lie said aloud, '' / avi (joing to dine at the cMtaiu qf' Ma- 


dame Siilomony This chateau was three leagues from Huningen, 
and Madame Saloraou was Pichegru's mistress. 

Fauche set off directly to the château, and begged to speak with 
General Pichegru. He told tho general that, being in the posses- 
sion of some of J. J. Rousseau's manuscripts, he wished to publish 
them and dedicate them to him. "Very good," said Pichegru ; "but 
I should like to read t':;em first ; for Ronsseau professed principles 
of liberty in winch I do not concur, and with which I should not 
like to have my name connected." — " But," said Fauche, " I have 
something else to speak to you about." — " What is it, and on whose 
behalf?" — " On behalf of the Prince de Condc." — "Be silent, then, 
and follow me. " 

He conducted Fauche alone into a retired cabinet, and said to 
him, "Explain yourself; what does Monseigneur le Prince de 
Condé wish to communicate to me ? " Fauche was embarrassed, 
and stammered out something unintelligible. " Compose yourself.'* 
said Pichegru; "my sentiments are the same as the Prince de 
Condé's. What does he desire of me?" Fauche, encouraged by 
these words, replied, " The Prince wishes to join you. He counts 
on you, and wishes to connect himself with you." 

"These are vague and unmeaning words,'' observed Pichegru. 
"All this amounts to nothing. Go back, and ask for written in- 
structions, and return in three days to my headquarters at Altkii-ch. 
You will hnd me alone precisely at six o'clock in the evening." 

Fauche immediately departed, arrived at Bale, and informed me 
of all that had passed. I spent the night in writing a letter to Gen- 
eral Pichegru. (The Prince de Condé, who was invested with all 
the powers of Louis XVIII. , except that of granting the cordon-bleu, 
had, by a note in his own handwriting, deputed to me all his pow- 
ers, to enable me to maintain a negotiation with General Piche- 

I therefore wrote to the general, stating, in the outset, every- 
thing that was calculated to awaken in him that noble sentiment 
of pride which is the instinct of great minds ; and after pointing 
out to him the vast good it was in his power to effect, I spoke of the 
gratitude of the King, and the benefit he would confer on his coun- 
try by restoring royalty. I told him that his IMajesty would make 
him a marshal of France, and governor of Alsace, as no one could 
better govern the province than he who had so valiantly defended 
it. I added that he would have the cordon- rouije, the Chateau de 
Chambord, with its park, and twelve pieces of cannon taken from 
the Austrians, a million of ready money, 200,000 livres per annum, 
and an h jtcl in Paris ; that tho town of Arbois, Pichegru's native 


place, should bear his name, and be exempt from all taxation for 
twenty-five years ; that a pension of 200,000 livres would be 
granted to him, with half reversion to his wife, and 50,000 livres to 
his heirs for ever, until the extinction of his family. Such were 
the Oilers, made in the name of the King, to General Pichegru. 
(Then followed the boons to be granted to the officers and soldiers, 
an amnesty to the people, etc). I added that the Prince de Coudé 
desired that he would procla'm the King in the camps, surrender 
the city of Huningen to him, and join him for the purpose of march- 
ing on Paris. 

Pichegru, having- read my letter with great attention, said to 
Fauche, " This is all very well ; but who is this M. de Montgail- 
lard who talks of being thus authorised ? I neither know him nor 
his signature. Is he the author?" — "Yes," replied Fauche. — 
*' But," said Pichegru, "I must, before making any negotiation on 
my part, be assured that the Prince de Condé, with whose hand- 
writing I am well acquainted, approves of all that has been written 
in his name by M. de Montgaillard. Return directly to M. de 
Montgaillard, and tell him to communicate my answer to the 

Fauche immediately departed, leaving M. Courant with Pichegru. 
He arrived at Bile at nine o'clock in the evening. I set off di- 
rectly for Miilheim, the Prince de Coudé' s headquarters, and ar- 
rived there at half-past twelve. Tlie Prince was in bed, but I awoke 
him. He made me sit down by his bedside, and our conference then 

After having informed the Prince of the state of affairs, all that 
remained was to prevail on him to write to General Pichegru to con- 
firm the truth of what had been stated in his name; This matter, 
which appeared so simple, and so little liable to objection, occupied 
t])e whole night. The Prince, as bravo a man as can possibly be, 
inherited nothing from the great Cond • but his undaunted courage. 
Jn other respects he is the most insignificant of men ; without re- 
S()urc(}S of mind, or decision of character ; surrounded by men of me- 
diocrity, and even baseness ; and though he knows them well, he 
Bufi'ers liimself to bo governed by them. 

It required nine hours of hard exertion on my part to get him to 
write to General Pichegru a letter of eight lines, lat. He did not 
wish il to be in his liaudwritiug. 2d. He objected to dating it 8d. 
ile was unwilling to call him General, lest lie should recognise the 
republic by giving tliat tithi. 4th. Ho did not like to address it. or 
affix his seal to it. 

At length ho coiweuted to all, au<l wro't; to Pichegru that he might 


place full confidence in the letters of the Comte de Montgaillard. 
When all this was settled, after great difficulty, the Prince next 
hesitated about sending the letter ; but at length he yielded. I 
set off for Bale, and despatched Fauche to Altkirch, to General 

The general, after reading the letter of eight lines, and recognising 
the handwriting and signature, immediately returned it to Fauche, 
saying, " I have seen the signature : that is enough for me. The 
word of the Prince is a pledge with which every Frenchman ought 
to be satisfied. Take back his letter." He then inquired what 
was the Prince's wish. Fauche explained that he wished — 1st. 
That Pichegru should proclaim the King to his troops, and lioist 
the white flag. 2d. That he should deliver up Huningen to the 
Prince, Pichegru objected to this. " I will never take part in 
such a plot," said he ; "I have no wish to make the third volume 
of La Fayette and Dumouriez. I know my resources ; they are as 
certain as they are vast. Their roots are not only in my army, but 
in Paris, in the Convention, in the departments, and in the armies 
of those generals, my colleagues, who think as I do. I wish to do 
nothing by halves. There must be a complete end of the present 
state of things. France cannot continue a Republic. She must 
have a king, and that king must be Louis XVIIL But we must 
not commence the counter-revolution until we are certain of effect- 
ing it. ' Surely and rightly ' is my motto. The Prince's plan leads 
to nothing. He would be driven from Huningen in four days, and 
in fifteen I should be lost. My army is composed both of good men 
and bad. We must distinguish between tliem, and, by a bold stroke, 
assure the former of the impossibility of drawing back, and that 
their only safety lies in success. For this purpose I propose to pass 
the Rhine, at any place and any time that may be thought neces- 
sary. In the advance I will place those officers on whom I can de- 
pend, and who are of my way of thinking. I will separate the bad, 
and place them in situations where they can do no harm, and their 
position shall be such as to prevent them from \initing. That done, 
as soon as I shall be on the other side of the Rhine, I will proclaim 
the King, and hoist tlie white flag. Condo's corps and the Emperor's 
army will then join us. I will immediately repass the Rhine, and 
re-enter France. The fortresses will be surrendered, and will be 
lield in the King's name by the Imperial troops. Having joined 
Condé's army, I immediately advance. All my means now develop 
themselves on every side. We march upon Paris, and in a fort- 
night will be there. But it is necessary that you should know that 
you must give the French soldier wine and a crown in Lis liaud if 


you would have liim cry Vive le Roi ! Nothing must be wanting at 
the first moment. My army must be well paid as far as the fourth 
or fifth march in the French territory. There, go and tell all this 
to the Prince, show my handwriting, and bring me back his 

During these conferences Pichegru was surrounded by four repre- 
sentatives of the people, at the head of whom was Merlin de Thion- 
viîle, the most insolent and the most ferocious pf inquisitors. These 
men, having the orders of the Committee, pressed Pichegru to pass 
the Rhine and go and besiege Manheim, where Merlin had an 
understanding with the inhabitants. Thus, if on the one hand the 
Committee by its orders made Pichegru wish to hasten the execution 
of his plan, on the other he had not a moment to lose ; for to delay 
obeying the orders of the four representatives was to render himself 
suspected. Every consideration, therefore, called upon the Prince to 
decide, and decide promptly. Good sense required him also to do 
another thing, namely, to examine without prejudice what sort of 
man Pichegru was, to consider the nature of the sacrifice he made, and 
what were his propositions. Europe acknowledged his talents, and 
he liad placed the Prince in a condition to judge of his good faith. 
Besides, his conduct and his plan afforded fresh proofs of his 
sincerity. By passing the Rhine and placing himself between the 
armies of Condé and VVurmser, he rendered desertion impossible ; 
and, if success did not attend his attempt, his own acts forced him 
to Vjecome an emigrant. He left in the power of his fierce enemies 
his wife, his father, his children. Everything bore testimony to 
his honesty ; the talents he had shown were a pledge for his genius, 
his genius for his resources ; and the sacrifices he would have to 
make in case of failure proved that he was confident of success. 

What stupid conceit was it for any one to suppose himself better 
able to command Picliegru's army than Pichegru himself! — to pre- 
tend to be better acquainted with tlie frontier provinces than 
Pichegru, wlio commanded them, and had placed liis friends in 
them as commanders of the towns ! Tliis self-conceit, however, 
ruined the monarchy at this time, as well as at so many others. Tlie 
Prince de Coud''-, after reading the plan, rejected it i)i tola. To 
render it successful it was neco.ssary to make the Austrians parties 
to it. Tliis Pichegru exacted, but tlio Prince of Condi- would not 
liear a word of it, wisliing to liavo confined to himself tlio glory of 
effecting the countiT-revolution. Ho replied to I'irlu'gru by a few 
observations, and concluded his answer by returning to his first 
plan -that Pichegru sliould j)ro(;laim tlio King without passing tlio 
Rhiuo, and should givu up liuiiingeu ; that theu the army of Coud* 
Vol. I— C 


by itself, and without the aid of the Austrians, would join him. In 
that case he could promise 100,000 crowns in louis, which he liad at 
Bale, and 1,400,000 livres, which he liad in good lulls payahle at 

Xo argument or entreaty had any effect on the Prince de Coudé. 
The idea ol communicating his plan to Wurmser and sharing his 
glory with him rendered him blind and deaf to every consideration. 
However, it was necessary to report to Pichegru the observations of 
the Prince de Condé, and Courant was commissioned to do so. 

This document appeared so interesting to me tLat 
while Bonaparte was sleeping I was employed in copying 
it. Notwithstanding posterior and reiterated denials of 
its truth, I believe it to be perfectly correct. 

Napoleon had ordered plans of his most famous battles 
to be engraved, and had paid in advance for them. The 
work was not done quickly enough for him. He got 
angry, and one day said to his geographer. Bâcler d'Albe, 
whom he liked well enough, "Ah! do hurry yourself, and 
think all this is only the business of a moment. If you 
make further delay you will sell nothing ; everything is 
soon forgotten ! " 

We were now in July, and the negotiations were carried 
on Avith a tardiness which showed that something was kept 
in reserve on both sides. Bonaparte at this lime was 
anything but disposed to sign a peace, which he always 
hoped to be able to make at Vienna, after a campaign in 
Germany, seconded by the armies of the Ehine and the 
Sambre-et-Meuse. The minority of the Directory re- 
commended peace on the basis of the preliminaries, but 
the majority wished for more honourable and advantage- 
ous terms ; while Austria, relying on troubles breaking 
out in France, was in no haste to conclude a treaty. In 
these circumstances Bonaparte drew u^d a letter to be sent 
to the Emperor of Austria, in which he set forth the 
moderation of France ; but stated that, in consequence of 
the many delays, nearly all hope of peace had vanished. 
He advised the Emj^eror not to rely on difficulties arising 


in France, and doubted, if war slioiild continue and the 
Emperor be successful in the next campaign, that he 
•would obtain a more advantageous peace than was now at 
his option. This letter was never sent to the Emperor, 
but was communicated as the draft of a proposed de- 
spatch to the Directory. The Emperor Francis, however, 
wrote an autograph letter to the General-in-Chief of the 
army of Italy, which will be noticed when I come to the 
period of its reception. It is certain that Bonaparte at 
this time wished for war. He was aware that the Cabinet 
of Vienna was playing with him, and that the Austrian 
Ministers expected some political convulsion in Paris, 
which they hoped would be favourable to the Bourbons. 
He therefore asked for reinforcements. His arm}' consisted 
of 35,900 men, and he desired it to be raised to 60,000 
infantry and 10,000 cavalry ready for the field. 

General Desaix, profiting by the preliminaries of Leo- 
ben, came in the end of July to visit the scene of the army 
of Italy's triumphs. His conversations with Bonaparte 
respecting the army of the Rhine were far from giving 
him confidence in his military situation in Italy, or as- 
surance of support from that army in the event of hos- 
tilities commencing beyond the mountains. It was at 
this period that their intimacy began. Bonaparte con- 
ceived for Desaix the greatest esteem and the sincerest 
friendship.' When Desaix was named temporary com- 
mander of the force called the army of England, during 
the absence of General Bonaparte, the latter wrote to the 
Directory that they could not have chosen a more dis- 
tinguished officer than Desaix ; these sentiments he never 
belied. The early death of Desaix alone could break their 
union, which, I doubt not, would eventually have had 

• Desaix, difwjontentcd with tho conduct of .tffuirfi in Oi-rmiiny, seceded from the 
army of tho Rhine, to wiiich he belon^'-d. to ynn tluitof Nupoleon. Ho wuh sent to 
Italy t« or^'iuiis*; the p irt of llie K^cyptiiiii .•xix-diliou slarliuK from CiviUi Vettchia. 
Ho UioV. with him his two nidux <le camp, Uiijip ai\(l Siivaiy (inter Du': do Rovik't»)» 
both of whom, ou hih doath, woio given tlio Humc pohL with Bouupurto. 


great influence on the political and military career of 
General Bonaparte. 

All the world knows the part which the General-in-Chief 
of the army of Italy took at the famous crisis of the 18th 
Fructidor ; his proclamation, his addresses to the army, 
and his celebrated order of the day. Bonaparte went 
much into detail on this subject at St. Helena ; and I shall 
now proceed to state what I knew at the time respecting 
that memorable event, which was in preparation in the 
month of June. 

1797. 85 


The royalists of the interior — Bonaparte's intention of marching on Paris 

with 25,000 men — His animosity against the emigrants and the 
Clichy Club — His choice between the two parties of the Directory — 
Augereau's order of the day against the word Monsieur — Bonaparte 
wishes to be made one of the five Directors — He supports the major- 
ity of the Directory — La Vallette, Augereau, and Bernadette sent to 
Paris — Interesting correspondence relative to the 18th Fructidor. 

Bonaparte had long observed the struggle which was go- 
ing on between the partisans of royalty and the Republic. 
He was told that royalism was everywhere on the increase. 
All the generals who returned from Paris to the army 
complained of the spirit of reaction they had noticed. 
Bonaparte was constantly urged by his private correspon- 
dents to take one side or the other, or to act for himself. 
He was irritated by the audacity of the enemies of the 
Republic, and he saw plainly that the majority of the 
councils had an evident ill-will towards him. The orators 
of the Club of Clichy missed no opportunity of wound- 
ing his self-love in speeches and pamphlets. They spared 
no insults, disparaged his success, and bitterly censured 
his conduct in Italy, particularly with respect to Venice. 
Thus his services were recompensed by hatred or ingrati- 
tude. About this time he received a pamphlet, which 
referred to the judgments pronounced upon him by the 
(lerman joui-nals, juid more particularly by the Spectator 
of the North, which he always made me translate. 

Bonaparte was touched to the ([uick by the comparison 
make between him and Monsau, and by the wish to repre- 
Bent him as foolhardy (" savante sous ]\Ioreau, fougueuse 


sous Buonaparte "). In the term of " brigands," applied 
to the generals who fought in La Vendue, he thought he 
recognized tlie hand of the party he was about to attack 
and overthrow. He was tired of the way in which 
Moreau's system of war was called " savante." But what 
grieved him still more was to see sitting in the councils 
of the nation Frenchmen who were detractors and enemies 
of the national glory. 

He urged the Directory to arrest the emigrants, to 
destroy the influence of foreigners, to recall the armies, 
to suppress the journals sold to England, such as the 
Quotidienne, the Mémorial, and the The, which he accused 
of being more sanguinary than Marat ever was. In case 
of tliere being no means of putting a stop to assassinations 
and the influence of Louis XVIH., he offered to resign. 

His resolution of passing the Alps with 25,000 men and 
marching by Lyons and Paris was known in the capital, 
and discussions arose respecting the consequences of this 
passage of another Kubicon, On the 17th of August 
1797 Carnot wrote to liim : *' People attribute to you a 
thousand absurd projects. They cannot believe that a 
man who has performed so many great exploits can be 
content to live as a private citizen." This observation 
applied to Bonaparte's reiterated request to be permitted 
to retire from the service on account of the state of his 
health, which, he said, disabled him from mounting his 
horse, and to the need which he constantly urged of 
having two years' rest. 

Tlie General-in-Chief was justly of opinion that the 
tardiness of the negotiations and tlib difficulties which 
incessantly arose were founded on tlie expectation of an 
event which would change the government of France, 
and render the chances of peace more favourable to Aus- 
tria. He still urgently recommended the arrest of the 
emigrants, the stopping of the presses of the royalist 
journals, which he said were sold to England and Aus- 


tria, and the suppression of the CUchy Club. This club 
was held at the residence of Gérard Desoddières, in the 
Kue de Clichy. Aubr}^ was one of its warmest partisans, 
and he was the avowed enemy of the revolutionary cause 
which Bonaparte advocated at this period. Aubry's con- 
duct at this time, together with the part he had taken in 
provoking Bonaparte's dismissal in 1795, inspired the 
General with an implacable hatred of him. 

Bonaparte despised the Directory, which he accused of 
weakness, indecision, pusillanimity, wasteful expendi- 
ture, of many errors, and perseverance in a system de- 
grading to the national glory. ^ He knew that the Clichy 

1 The Directory merited these accusations. The following sketches of two of 
their officia! sittings present a sincrular contrast : — 

•' At the time that the Directory were first installed in the Luxembourg (27th 
October 1795)." says M. Bailleul, '* there was hardly a single article of furniture in it. 
In a small room, round a little broken table, one of the Ictrs of which had given way 
from ago, on which table thi-y had deposited a qu're of letter-paper, and a writing- 
desk à calamet, which luckily they had had the pn'caution to bring with them from 
the Committee of Public Safety, seated on four rush-bottomed chairs, in front of 
Bome logs of wood ill-lighted, the whole borrowed from the porter Dupont; who 
would believe that it was in this deplorable condition that the members of the new 
Government, after having examined all the difficulties, nay, let me add, all the 
horrors of their 8itu>tion,res,ilved to confront ail obstacles, and that they would either 
deliver France from the abyss in which she was plunged or perish in the attempt? 
They drew up on a sheet of the act by which they declared themselves 
constiLuted, and immediately forwarded it to the Legislative Bodies." 

And the Comte de La Vallette, writing to M. Cuvillr r Fleury, snys: "I saw our 
five kings, dressed in the rolws of Francis I., his hat, his pantaloons, and his lace : 
the face of L i TléveillOre look'-d like a cork upon two pins, with the black and 
greasy hair of Oiodion. M de Talleyrand, in pantalo( ns of the colour of wine dregs, 
Hat in a folding chair at the feet of the Director Barras, in the Court of the Petit 
Luxembourg, and gravely presented to his sivereigns an ambassador from the 
f'r.and Duke of Tuncany, while the French were rating his nuxster's dinner, from 
the soup t'» the cheese. At the right hand there were fifty musicians and singers 
of the 0i)crn, Lain'-. Lays, Rngnault, and the actresses, nmv all dead of old ago, 
ronring a patriotic c.intata to the music of Sli'-hul. Facing them, on another 
el(!vation, there were two hundred young and beautiful wonu>n. with their arms 
and bortoms bare, all in ecstasy at the majesty of our T'uiitirehy and the happiness 
of th(! Republic. They also wonr tight flesh cohmred pantahxms, with ri;igs on 
their roe^. That was a sight that never will be seen again. A fortnight after this 
niopinflccnt /?<«, thou«and<«of famille,^ wept over their bnnÏKhed fath.^rs, forty eight 
d());irtinontH were deprivi d iif their représentât! von, and forty editors of newspapers 
were forced to go and drink tlie waters of the KUw, tlie Syimniary, or the Ohio I 
It would b(- a euriouH ilisrpii-iition to suck to discover what reully wore uL that time 
the IU!l)iiblic and Liberty." 


party demanded Ins dismissal and arrest. He was given 
to understand that Dumolard was one of the most de- 
cided against him, and that, finally, the royalist party was 
on the point of triumphing. 

Before deciding for one party or the other Bonaparte 
first thought of himself. He did not imagine that he had 
yet achieved enough to venture on possessing himself of 
that power which certainly he might easily have obtained. 
He therefore contented himself with joining the party 
which was, for the moment, supported by public opinion. 
I know he was determined to march upon Paris with 
25,000 men had affairs taken a turn unfavourable to the 
Bepublic, which he preferred to royalty-. He cautiously 
formed his plan. To defend the Directory was, he con- 
ceived, to defend his own future fortune ; that is to say, 
it was protecting a power which appeared to have no 
other object than to keep a place for him until his re- 

The parties which rose up in Paris produced a reaction 
in the army. The employment of the word Monsieur had 
occasioned quarrels, and even bloodshed. General Au- 
gereau, in whose division these contests had taken place, 
published an order of the day, setting forth that every 
individual in his division who should use the word Mon- 
sieur, either verbally or in writing, under any pretence 
whatever, should be deprived of his rank, and declared in- 
capable of serving in the Republican armies. This order 
was read at the head of each company. 

Bonaparte viewed the establishment of peace as the 
close of his military career. Repose and inactivity were 
to him unbearable. He sought to take part in the civil 
affairs of the Republic, and was desirous of becoming one 
of the five Directors, convinced that, if he obtained that 
object, he would speedily stand single and alone. The 
fulfilment of this wish would have prevented the Egyptian 
expedition, and placed the imperial crown much sooner 


upon his head. Intrigues were carried on in Paris in his 
name, with the view of securing to him a legal dispensation 
on the score of age. He hoped, though he was but eight- 
and-twenty, to supersede one of the two Directors who 
were to go out of office/ His brothers and their friends 
made great exertions for the success of the project, which, 
however, was not officially proposed, because it was too 
adverse to the prevailing notions of the day, and seemed 
too early a violation of the constitution of the year IH, 
which, nevertheless, was violated in another way a few 
months after. 

The members of the Directory were by no means 
anxious to have Bonaparte for their colleague. They 
dissembled, and so did he. Both parties were lavish of 
their mutual assurances of friendship, while they cordially 
hated each other. The Directory, however, appealed for 
the support of Bonaparte, which he granted ; but his sub- 
sequent conduct clearly proves that the maintenance of 
the constitution of the year HI. was a mere pretext. He 
indeed defended it meanwhile, because, by aiding the 
triumph of the opposite party, he could not hope to pre- 
seiwe the influence which he exercised over the Director}'. 
I know well that, in case of the Clichy party gaining the 
ascendency, he was determined to cross the Alps with his 
army, and to assemble all tlie friends of the Republic at 
Lyons, thence to march upon Paris. 

In the Memorial of Si. Helena it is stated, in reference 
to the 18th Fructidor, " that the triumph of the majority 
of tlie councils was his desire and hope, we are incHnod 
to believe from the following fact, viz., that at the crisis of 
the contest between the two factions a secret resolution 
was drawn up by three of the members of the Directory, 
asking him for three millions to support the attack on the 
councils, and that Napoleon, under various pretences, did 
not send the money, though he might easily have done so." 

• The DircctorH had Lo be forty yuurs of age before they ccHild bo appointeiL 


This is not very comprehensible. There was no secret 
resolution of the members who applied for the three mill- 
ions. It was Bonaparte who offered the money, which, 
however, he did not send ; it was he who despatched 
Augereau ; and he who wished for the triumph of the 
Directorial majority. His memory served him badly at 
St. Helena, as will be seen from some correspondence 
which I shall presently submit to the reader. It is very 
certain that he did offer the money to the Directory ; that 
is to say, to three of its members.' Bonaparte had so de- 
cidedly formed his resolution that on the 17th of July, 
wishing to make Augereau his confidant, he sent to Vicen- 
za for him by an extraordinary courier. 

Bonaparte adds that when Bottot, the confidential 
agent of Barras, came to Passeriano, after the 18th Fruc- 
tidor, he declared to him that as soon as La Vallette 
should make him acquainted with the real state of things 
the money should be transmitted. The inaccuracy of 
these statements will be seen in the correspondence 
relative to the event. In thus distorting the truth 
Napoleon's only object could have been to proclaim his 
inclination for the principles he adopted and energetically 
supported from the year 1800, but ^Yhich, previously to 
that period, he had with no less energy opposed. 

He decidedly resolved to support the majority of the 
Directory, and to oppose the royalist faction ; the latter, 
which was beginning to be important, would have been 
listened to had it offered power to him. About the end 
of July he sent his aide de camj) La Vallette to Paris. La 
Vallette was a man of good sense and education, pleasing 
manners, pliant temper, and moderate opinions. He was 
decidedly devoted to Bonaparte. With his instructions 
he received a private cipher to enable him to correspond 
with the General-in-Chief. 

' Barras, La Rôveillère-Lepaux, and RewbcU, the three Directors who carried 
out the coup <rélat of the 18th Fructidor against their colleagneR Camot and 
Barthélémy. (Sec Thiers' French Eevolutio», vol. v. pp. 114, 139, and 163.) 


Augereau went, after La Vallette, on the 27tli of July. 
Bonaparte officially wrote to the Directory that Augereau 
" had solicited leave to go to Paris on his own private 

But the truth is, Augereau was sent expressly to second 
the revolution which was preparing against the Clichy par- 
ty and the minority of the Directory. 

Bonaparte made choice of Augereau because he knew 
his staunch republican principles, his boldness, and his 
deficiency in political talent. He thought him well calcu- 
lated to aid a commotion, which his own presence with 
the army of Italy prevented him from directing in person ; 
and besides, Augereau was not an ambitious rival who 
might turn events to his own advantage. Napoleon said, 
at St. Helena, that he sent the addresses of the army of 
Italy by Augereau because he was a decided supporter of 
the opinions of the day. That was the true reason for 
choosing him. 

Bernadotte was subsequently despatched on the same 
errand. Bonaparte's pretence for sending him was, that 
he wished to transmit to the Directory four flags, which, 
out of the twenty-one taken at the battle of Kivoli, had 
been left, by mistake, at Peschiera. Bernadotte, how- 
ever, did not take any gi-eat part in the affair. He was 
always prudent. 

The crisis of the 181h Fructidor, which retarded for 
three years the extinction of the pentarchy, presents one 
of the most remarkable events of its short existence. It 
will be seen how the Directors extricated themselves from 
tliis difficulty. I subjoin the correspondence relating to 
this reirinrkablc episode of our Revolution, cancelling only 
such portions of it as are irrelevant to the subject. It ex- 
liilnis several variations from the accounts given by Napo- 
leon at St. Helena to his noble companions in misfortune. 

Augereau thus expressed himself on the 18th Fructidor 
(4th September 171)7) : — 


At length, General, my mission is accomplished, and the prom« 
ises of the army of Italy are fulfilled. The fear of heing anticipated 
has caused measures to be hurried. 

At midnight I despatched orders to all the troops to march tow- 
ards the points specified. Before day all the bridges and principal 
places were planted with cannon. At daybreak the halls of the 
councils were surrounded, the guards of the councils were amicably 
mingled with our troops, and the members, of whom I send you 
a list, were arrested and convoyed to the Temple. The greater 
number have escaped, and are being pursued. Carnot has disap- 
peared. ^ 

Paris is tranquil, and every one is astounded at an event which 
promised to be awful, but which has passed over like a fête. 

The stout patriots of the faubourgs proclaim the safety of the Re- 
public, and the black collars are put down. It now remains for the 
wise energy of the Directory and the patriots of the two councils to 
do the rest. The place of sitting is changed, and the first opera- 
tions promise well. This event is a great step towards peace ; which 
it is your task finally to secure to us. 

On the 24tli Fructidor (10th September 1797) Auge- 
reau writes : — 

My aide de camp, de Verine, will acquaint you with the events of 
the 18th. He is also to deliver to you some despatches from the 
Directory, where much uneasiness is felt at î->ot hearing from you. 
No less uneasiness is experienced on seeing- in Paris one of your 
aides de camp,'^ whose conduct excites the dissatisfaction and dis- 
trust of the patriots, towards whom he has behaved very ill. 

The news of General Clarke's recall will have reached you by this 
time, and I suspect has surprised you. Amongst the thousand and 
one motives which have determined the Government to take this 
step may be reckoned his correspondence with Carnot, which has 
been communicated to me, and in which he treated the generals of 
the army of Italy as brigands. 

Moreau has sent the Directory a letter which throws a new light 
on Pichegru s treason. Such baseness is hardly to be conceived. 

The Government perseveres in maintaining the salutary meas- 
ures which it has adopted. I hope it will be in vain for the rem- 

1 In 1824 Louis XVIII. sent letters of nobility to those members of the two oouoi 
cils who wore, as it was termed, fructidoriicd.—Bvurrienne. 
3 La Vallctto. 


nant of the factions to renew their plots. The patriots will continue 

Fresh troops having been summoned to Paris, and my presence 
at their head being considered indispensable by the Government, I 
shall not have the satisfaction of seeing you so soon as I hoped. 
This has determined me to s^nd for my horses and carriages, which 
I left at Milan. 

Bernadette wrote to Bonaparte on the 24th Fructidor as 
follows : — 

The arrested deputies are removed to Rochefort, where they will 
be embarked for the island of Madagascar. Paris is tranquil. The 
people at first heard of the arrest of the deputies with indifference. 
A feeling of curiosity soon drew them into the streets ; enthusiasm 
followed, and cries of Vive la République, which had not been heard 
for a long time, now resounded in every street. The neighbouring 
departments have expressed their discontent. That of Allier has, 
it is said, protested ; but it will cut a fine figure. Eight thousand 
men are marching to the environs of Paris. Part is already within 
the precincts, under the orders of General Lemoine. The Govern- 
ment has it at present in its power to elevate public spirit ; but 
everybody feels that it is necessary the Directory should be sur- 
rounded by tried and energetic Republicans. Unfortunately a host 
of men, witliout talent and resources, already suppose that what 
lias taken place has been done only in order to advance their inter- 
ests. Time is necessary to set all to rights. The armies have re- 
gained consistency. The soldiers of the interior are esteemed, or 
ut least feared. The emigrants fly, and the non-juring priests con- 
ceal themselves. Nothing could have happened more fortunately 
to consolidate the Republic. 

Bonaparte wrote as follows, to the Directory on the 
20111 Fructidor : — 

H(;rewith you will receive a proclamation to the army, relative to 
tlie events of the IHth. I have despatched the 4r)t]i demi brigade, 
eouimanded by General Bon, to Lyons, together with fifty cavalry ; 
also (ien(!ral liannes, witli the 2()th liglit infantry and the î)tii regi- 
nuMit of the line, to Marseilles. I have issued tin» enclosed j^roclu- 
rnation in tlio Houtliern dei)artin(Mits. I am about to prepare a 
j)r()(!l!im:iti<)n for the iiiliul)it;iiit.s of Lyons, as soon as 1 obtain somo 
Luiormuiiuu ol what may huvu pa.soud tkuro. 


If I find tliere is the least disturbance, I will march there with 
the utmost rapidity. Believe that there are here a hundred thous- 
and men, who are alone sufficient to make the measures you have 
taken to place liberty on a solid basis be respected. What avails it 
that we gain victories if we are not respected in our country. In 
speaking of Paris, one may parody what Cassius said of Rome : "Of 
what use to call her queen on the banks of the Seine, when she is 
the slave of Pitt's gold ? " 

After the 18th Fi'uctidor Augereau wished to have his 
reward for his share iu the victory, and for the service 
which he had rendered. He wished to be a Du-ector. 
He got, however, only the length of being a candidate ; 
honour enough for one who had merely been an instru- 
ment on that day. 




Bonaparte's joy at the result of the 18th Fructidor.— His letter to Au- 
gereau — His correspondence with the Directory and proposed resigna- 
tion—Explanation of the Directory — Bottot — General Clarke — Let- 
ter from Madame Bacciocchi to Bonaparte — Autograph letter of the 
Elmperor Francis to Bonaparte— Arrival of Count Cobentzel— Auto- 
graph note of Bonaparte on the conditions of peace. 

Bonaparte was delighted when he heard of the happy 
issue of the 18th Fructidor. Its result was the dissolu- 
tion of the Legislative Body and the fall of the Clichyan 
party, which for some months had disturbed his tranquil- 
lity. The Clichyans had objected to Joseph Bonaparte's 
right to sit as deputy for Liamone in the Council of Five 
Hundred.' His brother's victory removed the difiSculty ; 
but the General-in-Chief soon perceived that the ascend- 
ant party abused its power, and again compromised the 
safety of the Republic, by recommencing the Revolution- 
ary Government. The Directors were alarmed at his dis- 
content and ofifended by his censure. They conceived the 
singular idea of opposing to Bonaparte, Augereau, of 
whose blind zeal they, had received many proofs. The 
Directory appointed Augereau commander of the army 
of Germany. Augereau, whose extreme vanity was 
notorious, believed himself in a situation to compete with 
Bonaparte. What he built his arrogance on was, that, 
with a numerous troop, he had arrested some unarmed 

• Iln wfVH nnihaHHador to Uomo, and not n deputy at thiK time. When he IxTRmr k 
mcinl)cr of tht; (;oiincil, after hiu return from Knim-, ho oxycriencod uo oppoHiLioa 
{JiuurricniLe cl Hci Erreur», tome i. p, 210). 


representatives, and torn the epaulettes from the shoul- 
ders of the commandant of the guard of the councils. 
The Directory and he filled the headquarters at Passeriano 
•with spies and intriguers. 

Bonaparte, who was informed of everything that was 
going on, laughed at the Directory, and tendered his resig- 
nation, in order that he might be supplicated to continue 
in command. 

The following post-Thermidorian letters will prove that 
the General's judgment on this point was correct. 

On the 2d Vendémiaire, year VI. (23d September 1797), 
he wrote to Augereau, after having announced the arrival 
of his aide de camp as follows : — 

The whole army applauds the wisdom and vigour which you have 
displayed upon this important occasion, and participates in the suc- 
cess of the country with the enthusiasm and energy which charac- 
terise our soldiers. It is only to be hoped, however, that the Gov- 
ernment will not be playing at see saw, and thus throw itself into 
the opposite party. Wisdom and moderate views alone can establish 
the happiness of the country on a sure foundation. As for myself, 
this is the most ardent wish of my heart. I beg that you will some- 
times let me know what you are doing in Paris. 

On the 4tli Vendémiaire Bonaparte wrote a letter to the 
Directory in the following terms : — 

The' day before yesterday an officer arrived at the army from 
Paris. He reported that he left Paris on the 25th, when anxiety 
prevailed there as to the feelings with which I viewed the events of 
the 18th He was the bearer of a sort of circular from General 
Augereau to all the generals of division ; and he brought a letter of 
credit from the Minister of War to the commissary -general, autlior- 
ising him to draw as much money as he might require for his 

It is evident from these circumstances that the Government is 
acting towards me in somewhat the same way in which Pichegru 
was dealt with after Vendémiaire (year IV.). 

I beg of you to receive my resignation, and appoint another to 
my place. No power on earth shall make me continue in the ser- 



vice after this shocking mark of ingratitude on the part of the Gov- 
ernment, which I was very far from expecting. My health, which 
is considerably impaired, imperiously demands repose and tran- 

The state of my mind, likewise, requires me to mingle again in 
the mass of citizens. Great power has for a long time been confided 
to my hands. I have employed it on all occasions for the advantage 
of my country ; so much the worse for tJiose who put no faith in vir- 
tue, and may have suspected mine. My recompense is in my own 
conscience, and in the opinion of posterity. 

Now that the country is tranquil and free from the dangers which 
have menaced it, I can, without inconvenience, quit the post in 
which I have been placed. 

Be sure that if there were a moment of danger, I would be found 
in the foremost rank of the defenders of liberty and of the constitu- 
tion of the year III. 

The Directory, judging from the account which Bottot * 
gave of his mission that he had not succeeded in entirely 
removing the suspicions of Bonaparte, wrote the following 
letter on the 30th Vendémiaire : — 

The Directory has itself been troubled about the impression made 
on you by the letter to the paymaster-general, of which an aide de 
cump was the bearer. The composition of this letter has very much 
astonished the Government, which never appointed nor recognised 
such an agent : it is at least an error of office. But it sliould not 
alter the opinion you ought otherwise to entertain of the manner in 
which the Directory thinks of and esteemnyou. It appears that the 
18th Fructi<lor was misrepresented in the letters which were sent to 
the army of Italy. You did well to intercei)t them, and it may be 
right to transmit the most remarkable to the Minister of Police.'- 

In your oljservations on the too strong' tendency of opinion towards 
military govemmcnit, the Directory recoguis(iS an eiiually onliglit- 
ened and ardent friend of the llepublic. 

Nothing is wiser than the maxim, cédant arma t^giP^ for the main- 
tenance of rej)ublics To show so mucli anxiety on so important a 
])()int is not one of tlie least glorious features in the life of a général 
placed at the headuf a triumpliuut army. 

Ï Sco p. 79. 

' WhiiL III) ignoble tiiHk to proposo to the counueior of It.Uy 1 

Vol. I.— 7 


The Directory had seut General Clarke ' to treat for 
peace, as second plenipotentiary. Bonaparte has often 
told me he had no doubt from the time of his arrival that 
General Clarke was charged with a secret mission to act 
as a spy upon him, and even to arrest him if an oppor- 
tunity offered for so doing without danger. That he had 
a suspicion of this kind is certain ; but I must own that I 
was never by any means able to discover its gi'ounds ; for 
in all my intercourse since with Clarke he never put a 
single question to me, nor did I ever hear a word droj) 
from his mouth, which savoured of such a character. If 
the fact be that he was a sp3% he certainly played his part 
well. In all the parts of his correspondence which were 
intercepted there never was found the least confirmation 
of this suspicion. Be this as it may, Bonaparte could not 
endure him ; he did not make him acquainted with what 
was going on, and his influence rendered this mission a 
mere nullity. The General-in-Chief concentrated all the 
business of the negotiation in his own closet ; and, as to 
what was going on, Clarke continued a mere cipher until 
the 18th Fructidor, when he was recalled. Bonaparte 
made but little count of Clarke's talents. It is but justice, 
however, to say that he bore him no grudge for the con- 
duct of which he suspected he was guilty in Italy. "I 
pardon him because I alone have the right to be oflended." 

He even had the generosity to make interest for an of- 
ficial situation for him. These amiable traits were not 
uncommon with Bonaparte. 

Bonaparte had to encounter so many disagreeable con- 
trarieties, both in the negotiators for peace and the events 
at Paris, that he often displayed a good deal of irritation 
and disgust. This state of mind was increased by the 
recollection of the vexation his sister's maiTia<]:e had 

1 H. J. Qt. ClArke, afterwards Minister of War under Napoleon, 1807-1814, and 
under the Bourbons in 1816, when he was made a Marshal of France. He was 
created Due de Feltre in 1809. 


caused him, and which was unfortunately revived by a 
letter he received from her at this juncture. His excite- 
ATaent was such that he threw it down with an expression 
of anger. It has been erroneously reported in several 
publications that " Bacciocchi espoused Marie-Anne-Eliza 
Bonaparte on the 5th of May 1797. The brother of the 
bride was at the time negotiating the preliminaries of 
peace with Austria." 

In fact, the preliminaries were signed in the month of 
April, and it was for the definitive peace we were negotiat- 
ing in May. But the reader will find by the subjoined 
letter that Christine applied to her brother to stand god- 
father to her third child. Three children in three months 
would be rather quick work. 

Ajaccio, 14th Thermidor^ year V. {1st August 1797). 

General — Suffer me to write to you and call you by the name of 
brother. My first child was born at a time when you were much 
incensed against us. I trust she may soon caress you, and so make 
you forget the pain my marriage has occasioned you. My second 
child was still-born. Obliged to quit Paris by your order,' I mis- 
carried in Germany. In a month's time I hope to present you with 
a nephew. A favourable time, and other circumstances, incline me 
to hope my next will be a boy, and I promise you I will make a 
soldier of him ; but I wish hira to bear your name, and that you 
should be his godfather. I trust you will not refuse youi sister's 

Will you send, for this purpose, your power of attorney to h.Kc- 
ciocchi, or to whomsoever you think fit ? I shall expect with im- 
patience your assent. Because wo are poor let not that cause you to 
despise us ; for, after all, you are our brother, mine are the only 
children that call you uncle, and we all love you more than wo do 
tlie favours of fortune. Perhaps I may one day succeed in con- 
vincing you of the love I bear you. — Your afTectionato si.stor, 

Cii uiHTi N K Hon .\pautk. "^ 

P.8. —Do not fail to remember me to your wife, whom I strongly 

• Napoleon had writton In An^fust 1796 to Carnot, to ro<iiioKt that r.ucicn tninht bo 
jrdcrcd l-o (jiiit Parin ; boo fiDig, tome lil. p. 222. 

' Mtuliitno Uiicciorchl wont by th« niiiiio of Mariiiniin at St. Cyr, of Christino whlio 
ttu hor txuvulH, uud of Eliza uiidur Ibo CouHulatc. — liourrienne. 


desire to be acquainted with. They told me at Paris I was very like 
her. If you recollect my features you can judge. C. B. 

This letter is in the handwriting of Lucien Bonaparte.' 
General Bonaparte had been near a month at Passeriano 

when he received the following autograph letter from the 

Emperor of Austria : — 

To Monsieur le Général Bonaparte, General-in-Chiep 
OP THE Army of Italy. 

Monsieur le Général Bonaparte— When I thought I liad 
given ray plenipotentiaries full powers to terminate the important 
negotiation with which they were charged, I learn, with as much 
pain as surprise, that in consequence of swerving continually from 
the stipulations of the preliminaries, the restoration of tranquillity, 
with the tidings of which I desire to gladden the hearts of my sub- 
jects, and which the half of Europe devoutly prays for, becomes 
day after day more uncertain. 

Faithful to the performance of my engagements, I am ready to 
execute what was agreed to atLeoben, and require from you but the 
reciprocal performance of so sacred a duty. This is what has already 
been declared in my name, and what I do not now hesitate myself 
to declare. If, perhaps, the execution of some of the preliminary 
articles be now impossible, in consequence of the events which have 
since occurred, and in which I had no part, it may be necessary to 
substitute others in their stead equally adapted to the interests and 
equally conformable to the dignity of the two nations. To such 
alone will I put my hand. A frauk and sincere explanation, dic- 
tated by the same feelings which govern me, is the only way to lead 
to so salutary a result. In order to accelerate this result as far as in 
me lies, and to put an end at once to the state of uncertainty we re- 
main in, and which has already lasted too long, I have determined 
to despatch to the place of the present negotiations Comte de Co- 

* Joseph Bonaparte in hi-t Xotea Kjiys, " It is false that Madame Bonaparte evcf 
called herRclf Christine ; it is false that che ever wrote the letter of which M. d« 
Bourrienne here gives a copy." It will bo observed that Bonrrienno says it was 
written by her brother Lncien. ThLs is an error. The letter is obviouply from 
Christine Boyer, the wife of Lncien Bonaparte, whose niarriapo had given such dis- 
pleasure to Napoleon. (See Erreurs, tome i. p. 240, and lung's Lncien, tome i. 
p. 151). 


bentzel, a man who possesses my most unlimited confidence, and 
who is instructed as to my intentions and furnished with my most 
ample powers. I have authorised him to receive and accept every 
proposition tending to the reconciliation of the two parties which 
may be in couformit}-- with the principles of equity and reciprocal 
fitness, and to conclude accordingly. 

After this fresh assurance of the spirit of conciliation which ani- 
mates me, I doubt not you will perceive that peace lies in your own 
hands, and that on your determination will depend the happiness 
or misery of many thousand men. If I mistake as to the means I 
think best adapted to terminate the calamities which for along time 
have desolated Europe, I shall at least have the consolation of re- 
flecting that I have done all that depended on me. With the con- 
sequences which may result I can never be reproached, 

I have been particularly determined to the course I now take by 
the opinion I entertain of your upright character, and by the per- 
sonal esteem I have conceived towards you, of which I am very 
liappy, M. le General Bonaparte, to give you here an assurance. 

(Signed) Fkancis. 
Vienna, 20fA September 1797. 

In fact, it was only on the arrival of the Comte de 
Cobentzel that the negotiations were seriously set on foot. 
Bonaparte had all along clearly perceived that Gallo and 
Meerweldt were not furnished with adequate powers. He 
saw also clearly enough that if the month of September 
were to be trifled away in unsatisfactory negotiations, as the 
month which preceded it had been, it would be difficult 
in October to strike a blow at the house of Austria on the 
side of Carinthia. The Austrian Cabinet perceived with 
satisfaction the approach of the bad weather, and insisted 
more strongly on its ultimatum, which was the Adigc, 
with Venice. 

Before the 18th Fructidor the Emperor of Austria hoped 
that the movement which was prci)aring in Paris would 
operate badly for France and favourably to the European 
cause. The Austrian plenipotentiaries, in consocpience, 
raised their pretensions, and sent notes and an ultimatum 
which gave the proceedings more an air of trilling than of 


serious negotiation. Bonaparte's original ideas, wliicli I 
have under his hand, were as follows : — 

1. The Emperor to have Italy as far as the Adda. 

2. The King of Sardinia as far as the Adda. 

3. The Genoese Republic to have the boundary of Tor- 
tona as far as the Po (Tortona to be demolished), as also 
the imperial fiefs. (Coni to be ceded to France, or to be 

4. The Grand Duke of Tuscany to be restored. 

5. The Duke of Parma to be restored. 

1797. 103 


Influence of the 18th Fructidor on the negotiations — Bonaparte's sus- 
picion of Bottot — His complaints respecting the non-erasure of 
Bourrienne — Bourrienne's conversation with the Marquis of Gallo — 
Bottot writes from Paris to Bonaparte on the part of the Directory — 
Agents of the Directory employed to watch Bonaparte — Influence of 
the weather on the conclusion of peace — Remarkable observation of 
Bonaparte — Conclusion of the treaty — The Directory dissatisfied 
with the terms of the peace — Bonaparte's predilection for representa- 
tive government — Opinion on Bonaparte. 

After the 18th Fructidor Bonaparte was more powerful, 
Austria less haughty and confident. Venice was the only 
point of real difiSculty. Austria wanted the line of tlie 
Adige, with Venice, in exchange for Mayence, and the 
boundary of the Rhine until that river enters Holland. 
The Directory wished to have the latter boundary, and to 
add Mantua to the Italian Eepublic, without giving up all 
the line of the Adige and Venice. The difficulties were 
felt to be so irreconcilable that within about a month of 
the conclusion of peace the Directory wrote to General 
Bonaparte that a resumption of hostilities was preferable 
to tlie state of uncertainty wliicli was agitating and ruin- 
ing France. The Directory, tliereforo, declared that both 
the armies of tlie Rliine should take the field. It appears 
from the Fructidoriau correspondence, which has been 
already given, that the majority of the Directory then 
looked u])on a peace such as Bonaparte afterwards mado 
as hif anions. 

But Bonaparte, from tlie moment the Venetian insur- 
rection broke out, pon-cived that Venice might be used 


for the pacification. Bonaparte, who was convinced that, 
in order to bring matters to an issue, Venice and the 
territory beyond the Adige must fall beneath the Haps- 
burg sceptre, wrote to the Director}^ that he could not 
commence operations, advantageously, before the end of 
March, 1798 ; but that if the objections to giving Venice 
to the Emperor of Austria were persisted in, hostilities 
would certainly be resumed in the month of October, for 
the Emperor would not renounce Venice. In that case it 
would be necessary to be ready on the Rhine for an ad- 
vance in Germany, as the army of Italy, if it could make 
head against the Archduke Charles, was not sufficiently 
strong for any operations on a grand scale. At this period 
the conclusion of peace was certainly very doubtful ; it 
was even seriously considered in what form the rupture 
should be notified. 

Towards the end of September Bottot, Barras' secretary, 
arrived at Passeriano. He was despatched by the Direc- 
tory. Bonaparte immediately suspected he was a new spy, 
come on a secret mission, to watch him. He was there- 
fore received and treated with coolness ; but Bonaparte 
never had, as Sir "Walter Scott asserts, the idea of order- 
ing him to be shot. That writer is also in error when ho 
says that Bottot was sent to Passeriano to reproach Bona- 
parte for failing to fulfil his promise of sending money to 
the Dii-ectory. 

Bonaparte soon gave Bottot an opportunity of judging 
of the kind of spirit which prevailed at headquarters. He 
suddenly tendered his résignation, which he had already 
several times called upon the Directory to accei:)t. He 
accused the Government, at table, in Bottot's i)resence, of 
horrible ingratitude. He recounted all his subjects of 
complaint, in loud and impassioned language, without any 
restraint, and before twenty or thirty persons. 

Indignant at finding that his reiterated demands for the 
erasiu*e of my name from the list of emigrants had been 


slighted, and that, in spite of his representations, con- 
veyed to Paris by General Bernadotte, Louis Bonaparte, 
and others, I was still included in that fatal list, he apos- 
trophised ]VI. Bottot at dinner one day, before forty indi- 
viduals, among whom were the diplomatists Gallo, Co- 
bentzel, and Meerweldt. The conversation tui-ned upon 
the Dii-ectory. "Yes, truly," cried Bonaparte, in a loud 
voice, "I have good reason to complain; and, to pass 
from great to little things, look, I pray you, at Bourri- 
enne's case. He possesses my most unbounded confidence. 
He alone is entrusted, under my orders, with all the de- 
tails of the negotiation. This you well know ; and yet 
your Directory will not strike him off the list. In a word, 
it is not only an inconceivable, but an extremely stupid 
piece of business ; for he has all my secrets ; he knows 
my ultimatum, and could by a single word realize a hand- 
some fortune, and laugh at your obstinacy. Ask M. de 
Gallo if this be not true." 

Bottot wished to offer some excuse ; but the general 
murmur which followed this singular outburst reduced 
him to silence. 

The Marquis de Gallo had conversed with me but 
three days before, in the park of Passeriano, on the sub- 
ject of my position with regard to France, of the de- 
termination expressed by the Directory not to erase my 
name, and of the risk I thereby ran. " We have no 
desire," continued he, " to renew the war ; we wish siu- 
cerely for peace ; but it must be an honourable one. The 
Kcpublic of Venice presents a large territory for partition, 
which would be sufftcient for both parties. The cessions 
at present proposed are not, however, satisfactory. AVe 
want to know Bonaparte's ultimatum ; and I am author- 
ised to offer an estate in Bohemia, with a title and 
residence, and an annual revenue of 90,000 florins." 

I quickly interrupted iNI. de Gallo, and assured him 
that both my conscience and my duty obliged mc to 


reject his proposal ; and so put at once an end to the 

I took care to let the General-in-Chief know this story, 
and he was not surj^rised at my reply. His conviction, 
however, was strong, from all that M. de Gallo had said, 
and more particularly from the offer he had made, that 
Austria was resolved to avoid war, and was anxious for 

After I had retired to rest M. Bottot came to my bed- 
room and asked me, with a feigned surprise, if it was true 
that my name was still on the list of emigrants. On my 
replying in the affirmative, he requested me to draw up a 
note on the subject. This I declined doing, telling him 
that twenty notes of the kind he required already ex- 
isted ; that I would take no further steps ; and that I 
would henceforth await the decision in a state of perfect 

General Bonaparte thought it quite inexplicable that 
the Directory should express dissatisfaction at the view 
he took of the events of the ISth Fructidor, as, with- 
out his aid, they would doubtless have been overcome. 
He wrote a despatch, in which he repeated that his health 
and his spirits were affected — that he had need of some 
years' repose — that he could no longer endure the fatigue 
of riding ; but that the prosperity and liberty of his 
country would always command his warmest interests. In 
all this there was not a single word of truth. The Direc- 
tory thought as much, and declined to accept his resig- 
nation in the most flattering terms. 

Bottot proposed to him, on the part of tlie Directory, to 
revolutionise Italy. The General inquired whether the 
whole of Italy would be included in the plan. The revolu- 
tionary commission had, however, been entrusted to 
Bottot in so indefinite a way that he could only hesitate, 
and give a vague reply. Bonaparte wished for more pre- 
cise orders. In the interval peace was concluded, and the 


idea of that perilous and extravagant undertaking was no 
loncrer aofitated. Bottot, soon after his return to Piiris, 
wrote a letter to General Bonaparte, in which he com- 
plaiûe J that the last moments he had passed at Passeriano 
had deeply afflicted his heart. He said that cruel sus- 
picions had followed him even to the gates of the Directory. 
These cruel suspicions had, however, been dissipated by the 
sentiments of admiration and affection which he had found 
the Directory entertained for the person of Bonaparte. 

These assurances, which were precisely what Bonaparte 
had expected, did not avail to lessen the contempt he 
entertained for the heads of the Government, nor to 
change his conviction of their envy and mistrust of him- 
self. To their alleged affection he made no return. 
Bottot assured the hero of Italy of " the Republican 
dociUty" of the Directory, and touched upon the re- 
proaches Bonaparte had thrown oat against them, and 
upon his demands which had not been granted. He 
said : 

" The three armies, of the North, of the Bhine, and of 
ihe Sambre-et-Meuse, are to form only one, the army of 
Germany. — Augereau ? But j^ou yourself sent him. The 
fault committed by the Directory is owing to yourself ! 
Bernadotte? — he is gone to join you. Cacault? — he is 
recalled. Twelve thousand men for your army? — tliey 
are on their march. The treaty with Sardinia? — it is 
ratified. Bourrienne? — ho is erased. The revolution of 
Italy ? — it is adjourned. Advise the Directory, then : I 
repeat it, they have need of information, and it is to you 
they look for it." 

Tlie assertion regarding mo was false. For six months 
Bonap:irto demanded my erasure without being able to 
obtain it. I was not struck off the Kst until the lltli of 
November 17'J7. 

Just before the close of the negotiation Bonaparte, dis- 
gusted at the opposition and diilicultics with which ho was 


surrounded, reiterated again and again the offer of his 
resignation, and his wish to have a successor appointed. 
What augmented his uneasiness was an idea he enter- 
tained that the Directory had penetrated his secret, and 
attributed his powerful concurrence on the 18th Fructi- 
dor to the true cause — his personal views of ambition. In 
spite of the hypocritical assurances of gi-atitude made to 
him in writing, and though the Directory knew that his 
services were indispensable, spies were employed to watch 
his movements, and to endeavour by means of the persons 
about him to discover his views. Some of the General's 
friends wrote to him from Paris, and for my part I never 
ceased repeating to him that the peace, the power of mak- 
ing which he had in his own hands, would render him far 
more popular than the renewal of hostilities undertaken 
with all the chances of success and reverse. The signing 
of the peace, according to his own ideas, and in opposi- 
tion to those of the Directory, the way in which he just 
halted at Rastadt, and avoided returning to the Congress, 
and, finally, his resolution to expatriate himself with au 
army in order to attempt new enterprises, sprung more than 
is generally believed from the ruling idea that he was dis- 
trusted, and that his ruin was meditated. He often re- 
called to mind what La Vallette had written to him about 
his conversation with Lacuée ; and all he saw and heard 
confirmed the impression he had received on this subject. 
The early appearance of bad weather precipitated his 
determination. On the 13th of October, at daybreak, on 
opening my window, I perceived the mountains covered 
with snow. The previous night had been superb, and the 
autumn till then promised to be fine and late. I pro- 
ceeded, as I always did, at seven o'clock in the morning, 
to the General's chamber. I woke him, and told him 
what I had seen. He feigned at first to disbelieve me, 
then leaped from his bed, ran to the window, and, con- 
vinced of the sudden change, ho calmly said, " What ! be- 


fore the middle of October ! What a country is this ! 
Well, we must make peace ! " While he hastily put on 
his clothes I read the journals to him, as was my daily 
custom. He paid but little attention to them. 

Shutting himself up with me in his closet, he reviewed 
with the greatest care all the returns from the different 
corps of his army. "Here are," said he, "nearly 80,000 
effective men. I feed, I pay them : but I can bring but 
GO, 000 into the field on the day of battle. I shall gain it, 
but afterwards my force will be reduced 20,000 men — 
by killed, wounded, and prisoners. Then how oppose all 
the Austrian forces that will march to the protection of 
Vienna ? It would be a month before the armies of the 
Rhine could support me, if they should be able ; and in a 
fortnight all the roads and passages will be covered deep 
with snow. It is settled — I will make peace. Venice 
shall pay for the expense of the war and the boundary of 
the Rhine : let the Directory and the la\\'}'ers say what 
they hke." 

He wrote to the Directory in the following words : "The 
summits of the hills are covered with snow ; I cannot, on 
account of the stipulations agreed to for the recommence- 
ment of hostiUties, begin before five-and-twenty days, and 
by that time we shall be overwhelmed with snow." 

Fourteen years after, another early winter, in a more 
severe climate, was destined to have a fatal influence on 
his fortunes. Had he but then exercised equal foresight ! 

It is well known tliat, by the treaty of Campo-Formio, 
the two belHgercnt powers made peace at tlie expense of 
the Republic of Venice, which had nothing to do with the 
quarrel in the first instance, and which only interfered at 
a late period, probably against her own inclination, and 
inipelled by the force of inevitable circumstances. But 
what lias been the result of this great politic^al spoliation ? 
A portion of the Venetian territory was adjudged to the 
CisiUpine Republic ; it is now in the possession of Austria. 


Another considerable portion, and the capital itself, fell 
to the lot of Austria in compensation for the Belgic proy- 
inces and Lombardy, which she ceded to France. Austria 
has now retaken Lombardy, and the additions then made 
to it, and Belgium is in the possession of the House of 
Orange. France obtained Corfu and some of the Ionian 
isles ; these now belong to England.' Romulus neyer 
thought he was founding Eome for Goths and priests. 
Alexander did not foresee that his Eg;s'ptian city would 
belong to the Turks ; nor did Constantine strip Eome for 
the benefit of Mahomet EC. Why then fight for a few pal- 
try villages ? 

Thus have ^ye been gloriousl}^ conquering for Austria 
and England. An ancient State is overturned without 
noise, and its provinces, after being divided among different 
bordering States, are now all under the dominion of 
Austria. "We do not possess a foot of ground in all the 
fine countries we conquered, and which served as com^Den- 
sations for the immense acquisitions of the House of 
Hapsburgh in Italy. Thus that house was aggrandised 
by a war which was to itself most disastrous. But Austria 
has often found other means of extending her dominion 
than military triumphs, as is recorded in the celebrated 
distich of Mathias Corvinus : — 

" Bella gernnt alii, tu felix Aiistria nube ; 
Nam quaa Mars aliis, dat tibi regua Venus." " 

The Directory was far from being satisfied with the 
treaty of Campo-Formio, and with difficulty resisted the 
temptation of not ratify i]ig it. A fortnight before the 
signature the Directors wrote to General Bonaparte that 
they would not consent to give to the Emperor Venice, 
Frioul, Padua, and the terra firma with the boundai*y of 

' Afterwards to be ceded by her to Greece. Belgium is fi-ee. 
5" " Glad Austria wins by Hymen's silken chain 
What other States by doubtful battle gain, 
And while fierce Mars enrichfs meaner lands, 
Receives posbcsbiou fj-om fair Vi nus' hands." 


the Adige. *' That," said they, " would not be to make 
peace, but to adjourn the war. We shall be regarded as 
the beaten party, iodependently of the disgrace of aban- 
doning Venice, which Bonaparte himself thought so worthy 
of freedom. France ought not, and never will wish, to see 
Italy delivered up to Austria. The Directory would 
prefer the chances of a war to changing a single word of 
its ultimatum, wnich is already too favourable to Austria." 

All this was said in vain. Bonaparte made no scmple 
of disregarding his instructions. It has been said that 
the Emperor of Austria made an* oflfer of a very consider- 
able sum of money, and even of a principality, to obtain 
favourable terms. Ï was never able to find the slightest 
ground for this report, which refers to a time when 
the smallest circumstance could not escape my notice. 
The character of Bonaparte stood too high for him to 
sacrifice his glory as a conqueror and peacemaker for even 
the greatest private advantage. This was so thoroughly 
known, and he was so profoundly esteemed by the Austrian 
plenipotentiaries, that I will venture to say none of them 
would have been capable of making the slightest overture 
to him of so debasing a proposition. Besides, it would 
have induced him to put an end to all intercourse with 
the plenipotentiaries. Perhaps what I have just stated of 
M. de Gallo will throw some light upon this odious accu- 
sation. But let us dismiss this story with the rest, and 
among them that of the porcelain tray, which was said to 
have been smaslied and thrown at the head of M. de 
Cobentzel.' I certainly know nothing of any such scene ; 
our manners at Passeriano were not quite so bad ! 

Tlie presents customary on such occasions were given, 
and the Emperor of Austria also took that opportunity to 
present to General Bonaparte six magnificent white horses. 

Bonaparte returned to IMilan by way of Gratz, Lay bach, 
Trieste, Mestre, Verona, and Mantua. 

* Ilelatwl iu the Hctnoiri of S/nur, vul, i. p. y76. 


At this period Napoleon was still swayed by the im- 
pulse of the age. He thought of nothing but representa- 
tive governments. Often has he said to me, " I should 
like the era of representative governments to be dated 
from my time." His conduct in Italy and his proclama- 
tions ought to give, and in fact do give, weight to this 
account of his opinion. But there is no doubt that this 
idea was more connected with lofty views of ambition 
than a sincere desire for the benefit of the human race ; 
for, at a later period, he adopted this phrase : 1 should 
like to be the head of the^most ancient of the dynasties of 
Europe." What a difference between Bonaparte, the 
author of the Souper de Beaucaire, the subduer of royal- 
ism at Toulon, the author of the remonstrance to xUbitte 
and Salicetti, the fortunate conqueror of the loth Ven- 
demiaii-e, the instigator and supporter of the revolution 
of Fructidor, and the founder of the Republics of Italy, 
the fruits of his immortal victories, — and Bonaparte, First 
Consul in 1800, Consul for life in 1802, and, above aU, 
Napoleon, Emperor of the French in 1804, and King of 
Italy in 1805 I 

ÎW. 113 


E-ffect of the 18th Fructidor on the peace— The standard of the army of 
Italy — Honours rendered to the memory of General Hoche and of 
Virgil at Mantua — Remarkable letter — In passing through Switzer- 
land Bonaparte visits the field ofMorat — Arrival at Rastadt— Letter 
from the Directory calling Bonaparte to Paris—Intrigues against 
Josephine — Grand ceremony on the reception of Bonaparte by the 
Directory — The theatres — Modesty of Bonaparte — An assassination 
—Bonaparte's opinion of the Parisians — His election to the National 
Institute — Letter to Camus — Projects — Reflections. 

The day of the 18th Fructidor had, without any doubt, 
mainly contributed to the conclusion of peace at Campo- 
Formio. On the one hand, the Directory, hitherto not 
very pacifically inclined, after having effected a coup 
d'état^ at length saw the necessity of appeasing the dis- 
contented by giving peace to France. On the other hand, 
the Cabinet of Vienna, observing the complete failure of 
all the royalist plots in the interior, thought it high time 
to conclude with the French Republic a treaty which, not- 
withstanding all the defeats Austria had sustained, still 
left her a preponderating influence over Italy. 

Besides, the campaign of Italy, so fertile in glorious 
achievements of arms, had not been productive of glory 
alone. Something of greater importance followed these 
conquests. Public affairs had assumed a somewhat un- 
usual aspect, and a grand moral influence, the effect of 
victories and of peace, had begun to extend all over 
France. Ropul)licauism was no longer so sanguinary and 
fierce as it had ])oen some years before. Bonaparte, ne- 
gotiating with princes and their ministers on a footing 
of equality, but still with all that superiority to which 
victory and his genius entitled him, gradually taught 
Vol. I.— 8 


foreign courts to be familiar \\ith Republican France, and 
the Republic to cease regarding all States governed by 
Kings as of necessity enemies. 

In these circumstances the General-in-Chief's departure 
and his expected visit to Paris excited general attention. 
The feeble Directory was prepared to submit to the pres- 
ence of the conqueror of Italy in the capital. 

It was for the purpose of acting as head of the French 
legation at the Congress of Rastadt that Bonaparte quitted 
Milan on the 17th of November. But before his departure 
he sent to the Directory one of those monuments, the in- 
scriptions on which may generally be considered as fabu- 
lous, but which, in this case, were nothing but the truth. 
This monument was the "flag of the Army of Italy," and 
to General Joubert was assigned the honourable duty of 
presenting it to the members of the Executive Government. 

On one side of the flag were the words "To the Army 
of Italy, the grateful country." The other contained an 
enumeration of the battles fought and places taken, and 
presented, in the following inscriptions, a simple but strik- 
ing abridgment of the history of the Italian campaign. 

150,000 PRISONERS ; 170 standards ; 550 pieces op siege I 


THE King of Sardinia ; convention with Genoa ; ar- | 
MisTicE with the Duke OP Parma ; armistice WITH the 
King of Naples ; armistice with the Pope ; prelimin- | 


REPUBLIC OF Genoa ; treaty of peace with the Em- 
peror OF Germany at Campo-Formio. 

Liberty given to the peopi-e of Kologna, Febpaka, 
Modena, Massa-Cabrara, La Ro.magna, Lombakdy, Bres- 
cia, Bergamo, Mantua, Cremona, part of the Vero- 
nese, Chiavena, Bohmio, the Valtkline, the Genoese, 
THE Imperial Fiefs, the people of the departments 


Sent to Paris ALii the Masterpieces of Michael An- 
gelo, of Guercino, of Titian, of Paul Veronese, of 


AND OF Leonardo da Vinci. 


Thus were recapitulated on a flag, destined to decorate 
the Hall of the Public Sittings of the Directory, the mili- 
tary deeds of the camjDaign in Italy, its political results, 
and the conquest of the monumects of art. 

Most of the Italian cities looked upon their conqueror 
as a liberator — such was the magic of the word liberty^ 
which resounded from the Alps to the Apennines. On his 
way to Mantua the General took up his residence in the 
palace of the ancient dukes. Bonaparte promised the 
authorities of Mantua that their department should be one 
of the most extensive ; impressed on them the necessity 
of promptly organising a local militia, and of puttiug in 
execution the plans of Mari, the mathematician, for the 
navigation of the Mincio from Mantua to Peschiera. 

He stopped two days at Mantua, and the morrow of his 
arrival was devoted to the celebration of a military funeral 
solemnity, in honour of General Hoclie, who had just died. 
His next object was to hasten the execution of the monu- 
ment which was erecting to the memory of Virgil. Thus, 
in one day, he paid honour to France and Italy, to modern 
and to ancient glory, to the laurels of war and to the 
laurels of poetry. 

A person who saw Bonaparte on this occasion for the 
first time thus described him in a letter he wrote to 
Paris : — " With lively interest and extreme attention I 
have observed this extraordinary man, who has performed 
such great deeds, and about whom there is something 
which seems to indicate that his career is not yet termi- 
nated. I found hnn very like his portraits — little, tliiu, 
pale, with an air of fatigue, but not of ill-health, as has 
been reported of him. He appears to me to listen with 
more abstraction than interest, and that he was more 
occupied with wliat he was thinking of than with what was 
said to him. There is great iutelhgenco in his countenance, 
along with which may be marked an air of habitual med- 
itation, which reveals nothing of what is passing witliin. 


In that thinking head, in that bold mind, it is impossible 
not to believe that some daring designs are engendering 
which ivill have their influence on the destinies of Europe." 

From the last phrase, in particular, of this letter, one 
might suspect that it was written after Bonaparte had 
made his name feared throughout Europe ; but it really 
appeared in a journal in the month of December 1797, a 
little before his amval in Paris. 

There exists a sort of analogy between celebrated men 
and celebrated places ; it was not, therefore, an uninter- 
esting spectacle to see Bonaparte surveying the field of 
Morat, where, in 147G, Charles the Bold, Duke of Bur- 
gundy, daring like himself, fell with his powerful army un- 
der the effects of Helvetian valour. Bonaparte slept during 
the night at Moudon, where, as in every place through 
which he passed, the greatest honours were paid him. In 
the morning, his carriage having broken down, we con- 
tinued our journey on foot, accompanied only by some 
officers and an escort of dragoons of the country. Bona- 
parte stopped near the Ossuary, and desired to be shown 
the spot where the battle of Morat was fought. A plain 
in front of the chapel was pointed out to him. An officer 
who had served in France was present, and explained to 
him how the Swiss, descending from the neighbouring 
mountains, were enabled, under cover of a wood, to turn 
the Burgundian army and put it to the rout. *' What was 
the force of that army?" asked Bonaparte. — ** Sixty thou- 
sand men." — " Sixty thousand men ! " he exclaimed : "they 
ought to have completely covered these mountains ! " — 
*' The French fight better now," said Lannes, who was one 
of the officers of his suite. " At that time," observed Bo- 
naparte, interrupting him, " the Burgundians were not 

Bonaparte's journey through Switzerland was not with- 
out utility ; and his presence sei'ved to calm more than one 
inquietude. He proceeded on his journey to Eastadt by 


Aix in Savoy, Berne, and Bale. On arriving at Berne dur- 
ing night T\-e passed through a double file of well-lighted 
equipages, filled with beautiful women, all of whom raised 
the cry of "Long live Bonaparte ! — long live the Pacifica- 
tor ! " To have a proper idea of this genuine enthusiasm 
it is necessary to have seen it. 

The position in society to which his services had raised 
him rendered it unfit to address him in the second per- 
son singular and the familiar manner sometimes used 
by his old schoolfellows of Brienne. I thought this very 

M. de Cominges, one of those who went with him to the 
military school at Paris, and who had emigrated, was at Bale. 
Having learned our amval, he presented himself without 
ceremony, with great iu decorum, and with a complete 
disregard of the respect due to a man who had rendered 
himself so illustrious. General Bonaparte, offended at this 
behaviour, refused to receive him again, and expressed him- 
self to me with much warmth on the occasion of this visit. 
All my efforts to remove his displeasure were unavailing : 
this impression always continued, and he never did for INI. 
de Cominges what his means and the old ties of boyhood 
might well have warranted. 

On arriving at Ilastadt ^ Bonaparte found a letter from 
the Directory summoning him to Paris. He eagerly obeyed 
this invitation, which drew him from a place where he could 
act only an insignificant i)art, and which he had determined 
to leave soon, never again to return. Some time after his 
arrival in Paris, on the ground that his presence was neces- 
sary for the execution of different orders, and the general 
despatcli of business, ho required that authority should 
be given to a part of his household, whicli he had left at 
Kastadt, to return. 

How could it ever be said tliat tin; Directory " kept 

1 Tho coiiforonw for th«« pfiico with the; Kmpiro <>f (It riimny wfiH held tlnTi'. 
Th«iK;acc of Luubcn wan only out* iimdu with AiiKtrlu. 


General Bonaparte away from tlie great interests which 
were under discussion at Rastadt " ? Quite the contrar}' ! 
The Directory would have been dehghted to see him re- 
turn there, as they would then have been relieved from his 
presence in Paris ; but nothing was so disagreeable to 
Bonaparte as long and seemingly interminable negotia- 
tions. Such tedious work did not suit his character, and 
he had been sufficiently disgusted with similar proceedings 
at Campo-Formio. 

On our arrival at Eastadt I soon found that General 
Bonaparte was determined to stay there only a short time. 
I therefore expressed to him my decided desire to remain 
in Germany. I was then ignorant that my erasure from 
the emigrant list had been ordered on the 11th of Novem- 
ber, as the decree did not reach the commissary of the 
Executive Directory at Auxerre until the 17th of Novem- 
ber, the day of our departure from Milan. 

The silly pretext of difficulties b}' which my erasure, 
notwithstanding the reiterated solicitations of the vic- 
torious General, was so long delayed made me appre- 
hensive of a renewal, under a weak and jealous pentarch}^ 
of the horrible scenes of 179G. Bonaparte said to me, in 
a tone of indignation, " Come, pass the Rhine ; they will 
not dare to seize you while near me. I answer for your 
safety." On reaching Paris I found that my erasure had 
taken place. It was at this period only that General Bo- 
naparte's aj^plications in my favour were tardily crowned 
with success. Sotin, the Minister of General Police, noti- 
fied the fact to Bonaparte ; but his letter gave a reason for 
my erasure very different from that stated in the decree. 
The Minister said that the Government did not wish to 
leave among the names of traitors to their country the 
name of a citizen who was attached to the person of the 
conqueror of Italy ; while the decree itself stated as the 
motive for removing my name from the list that I never 
had emigrated. 


At St. Helena it seems Bonaparte said that lie did not 
return from Italy with more than 300,000 francs; but I 
assert that he had at that time in his possession some- 
thing more than 3,000,000/ How could he with 300,000 
francs have been able to provide for the extensive repairs, 
the embellishment, and the furnishing of his house in the 
Eue Chantereine ? How could he have supported the 
establishment he did with only 15,000 francs of income 
and the emoluments of his raiîk ? The excursion which 
he made along the coast, of which I have yet to speak, of 
itself cost near 12,000 francs in gold, which he trans- 
ferred to me to defray the expense of the journey ; and I 
do not think that this sum was ever repaid him. Besides, 
what did it signify, for any object he might have in dis- 
guising his fortune, whether he brought 3,000,000 or 
300,000 francs with him from Italy? No one will accuse 
him of peculation. He was an inflexible administrator. 
He was always irritated at the discovery of fraud, and 
pursued those guilty of it with all the vigour of his char- 
acter. He w^ished to be independent, which he well knew 
that no one could be without fortune. He has often said 
to me, "lam no Capuchin, not I." But after having been 
allowed only 300,000 francs on his arrival from the rich 
Italy, where fortune never abandoned him, it has been 
printed that he had 20,000,000 (some have even doubled 
the amount) on his return from Egypt, which is a very 
poor country, where money is scarce, and where reverses 
followed close upon his victories. All these reports are 
false. What he brought from Italy has just been stated, 
and it will be seen when we come to Egypt what treasure 
lie carried away from tlie country of the Pharaohs. 

Bonaparte's brothers, desirous of obtaining complete 
dominion over his mind, strenuously endeavoured to lessen 

* Jo8oph RjiyB thilt Napoloon, when ho puilcd for Epypt. loft, with him nil hU for- 
tune, anil thiit it wan much neuicr .KKM.oo f nuK k tliun •'J.OUU.OOO. (See h'rreurv^ 
tome i. pp. ai.'J, a5'.>.) 


tlie influence which Josephine possessed from the love of 
her husband. They tried to excite his jealousy, and took 
advantage of her stay at Milan after our departure, which 
had been authorised bj- Bonaparte himself. My intimacy 
with both the husband and the wife fortunately afforded 
me an opportunity of averting or lessening a good deal of 
mischief. If Josephine still lived she would allow me this 
merit. I never took part against her but once, and that 
unwillingly. It was on the subject of the marriage of her 
daughter Hortense. Josephine had never as yet spoken 
to me on the subject, Bonaparte wished to give his step- 
daughter to Duroc, and his brothers were eager to pro- 
mote the marriage, because they wished to separate Jo- 
sephine from Hortense, for whom Bonaparte felt the ten- 
derest affection. Josephine, on the other hand, wished 
Hortense to marry Louis Bonaparte. Her motives, as 
may easily be divined, were to gain support in a family 
where she experienced nothing but enmity, and she car- 
ried her point.' 

On his arrival from Rastadt the most magnificent prep- 
arations were made at the Luxembourg for the reception 
of Bonaparte. The grand court of the Palace was ele- 

1 Previous to her marriage with Louis, Hortense cherished an attachment for 
Duroc, who was at that time a handsome man about tlmty, and a great favourite of 
Bonaparte. However, the indifference with which Duroc retrarded the marriage of 
Louis Bonaparte sufficiently proves that the regard with which he had inspired Hor- 
tense was not very ardently returned. It is certain thnt Duroc mij,'ht have becouie 
the husband of Mademoiselle de Beauharnais had he been willing to accede to the 
conditions on which the First Consul offered him his step-daughter's hand. But 
Duroc looked forward to something better, and his ordinary prudence forsook him at 
a moment when he might easily have b(>held a perspective cakulati'd to gratify even 
a more towering ambition than his. He declined the proposed marriage ; and the 
union of HoiU'nse and Louis, which Madame Bonaparte, to conciliate the favour of 
her brothers-in-law, had endeavoured to bring about, was iiimiediatcly determined 
on {Mémoires de Constant). 

In allu!<ion to the alleged unfriendly feeling of Napoleon's brothers towards Jo- 
sephine, the following observation occurs in Joseph Bonaparte's Xotes on Bour 
rien ne : — 

*' None of Napoleon'» brothers," be says, " were near him from the time of his de- 
parture for Italy except Louis, who cannot he suspected of having intrigued against 
Josephine, whose daughter he married. These caluainies are without foundation **• 
Uitreurs, tome i. p. 244). 


gantly ornamented ; and at its farther end, close to the 
Palace, a large amphitheatre was erected for the accommo- 
dation of official persons. Ciu'iosity, as on all like occa- 
sions, attracted multitudes, and the court was filled. 
Opposite to the principal vestibule stood the altar of the 
country, surrounded by the statues of Liberty, Equality, 
and Peace. When Bonaparte entered every head was 
uncovered. The windows were full of young and beauti- 
ful females. But notwithstanding this great preparation 
an icy coldness characterized the ceremony. Every one 
seemed to be present only for the purpose of beholding a 
sight, and curiosity was the prevailing expression rather 
than joy or gratitude. It is but right to say, however, 
that an unfortunate event contributed to the general in- 
difference. The right wing of the Palace was not occu- 
pied, but great prej^arations had been making there, and 
an officer had been directed to prevent anyone from 
ascending. One of the clerks of the Director}', however, 
contrived to get upon the scaffolding, but had scarcely 
placed his foot on the first plank when it tilted up, and 
the imjDrudent man fell the whole height into the court. 
This accident created a general stupor. Ladies fainted, 
and the windows were nearly deserted. 

However, the Directory displayed all the Republican 
splendour of which they were so prodigal on similar occa- 
sions. Speeches were far from being scarce. Talleyrand, 
who was then Minister for Foreign Affairs, on introducing 
Bonaparte to the Directory, made a long oration, in the 
course of which he hinted that the personal greatness of 
the General ought not to excite uneasiness, even in a 
rising Republic. "Far from apprehending anything from 
his ambition, I believe that wc shall one day bo obliged to 
solicit liim to tear liimself from the pleasures of studious 
retirement. All France will be free, but perhaps ho never 
will ; such is his destiny." 

Talleyrand was listened to with inipationco, so anxious 


■was every one to hear Bonaparte. The conqueror of Italy 
then rose, and pronounced with a modest air, but in a firm 
voice, a short address of congratulation on the improved 
position of the nation. 

Barras, at that time President of the Directory, replied 
to Bonaj)arte with so much prolixity as to weary everyone ; 
and as soon as he had finished speaking he threw himself 
into the arms of the General, who was not much pleased 
with such affected displays, and gave him what was then 
called the fraternal embrace. The other members of the 
Directory, following the example of the President, sur- 
rounded Bonaparte and pressed him in their arms ; each 
acted, to the best of his ability, his part in the senti- 
mental comedy. 

Chenier composed for this occasion a hymn, which 
Méhul set to music. A few days after an opera was pro- 
duced, bearing the title of the Fall of Carthage^ which was 
meant as an allusion to the anticipated exploits of the 
conqueror of Italy, recently appointed to the command of 
the " array of England." The poets w^ere all employed 
in praising him ; and Lebrun, with but little of the Pin- 
daric fire in his soul, composed the following distich, which 
certainly is not worth much : — 

"Héros, clier à la paix, aux arts, à la victoire — 
Il conquit en deux ans mille siècles de gloire." 

The two councils were not disposed to be behind the 
Director}^ in the manifestation of joy. A few days after 
they gave a banquet to the General in the gallery of the 
Louvre, which had recently been enriched by the master- 
pieces of painting conquered in Italy. 

At this time Bonaparte displayed great modesty in all 
his transactions in Paris. The administrators of the 
department of the Seine having sent a deputation to him 
to inquire what hour and day he would allow them to wait 
on him, he carried himself his answer to the department. 


accompanied by General Berthier. It was also remarked 
that the judge of the peace of the arrondissement where 
the General lived having called on him on the 6th of 
December, the evening of his arrival, he returned the 
visit next morning. These attentions, trifling as they may 
appear, were not without their effect on the minds of the 

In consequence of General Bonaparte's victories, the 
peace he had effected, and the brilliant reception of which 
he had been the object, the business of Vendémiaire was 
in some measure forgotten. Every one was eager to get 
a sight of the young hero whose career had commenced 
with so much éclat. He lived very retiredly, yet went 
often to the theatre. He desired me, one day, to go and 
request the representation of two of the best pieces of the 
time, in which Elleviou, Mesdames St. Aubin, Phillis, and 
other distinguished performers played. His message was, 
that he only wished these two pieces on the same night, 
if that were possible. The manager told me that nothing 
that the conqueror of Italy wished for was impossible, for 
he had long ago erased that word from the dictionary. 
Bonaparte laughed heartily at the manager's answer. 
When we went to the theatre he seated himself, as usual, 
in the back of the box, behind Madame Bonaparte, making 
me sit by her side. The pit and boxes, however, soon 
found out that he was in tlie house, and loudly called for 
him. Several times an earnest desire to see him was mani- 
fested, but all in vain, for he never showed himself. 

Some days after, being at the Théâtre des Arts, at the 
second representation of Horatius Codes, although he waa 
sitting at the back of a box in the second tior, the audi- 
ence discovered that he was in the house. Immediately ac- 
clamations arose from all quarters ; but he kept himself 
concealed as much as possible, and said to a person in the 
next box, "Had I known that the boxea were ao exposed, 
I should not have come." 


During Bonaparte's stay at Paris a woman sent a mes- 
senger to warn liim that his hfe would be attempted, and 
that poison was to be employed for that purpose. Bona- 
parte had the bearer of this information arrested, who 
went, accompanied by the judge of the peace, to the 
woman's house, where she was found extended on the floor, 
and bathed in her blood. The men whose plot she had 
overheard, having discovered that she had revealed their 
secret, murdered her. The poor woman was dreadfully 
mangled : her throat was cut ; and, not satisfied with that, 
the assassins had also hacked her body wdth sharp instru- 

On the night of the 10th of Nivose the Rue Chantereine, 
in which Bonaparte had a small house (No. G), received, 
in pursuance of a decree of the department, the name of 
Eue de la Victoire. The cries of " Vive Bonaparte ! " and 
the incense prodigally ofifered up to him, did not however 
seduce him from his retired habits. Lately the conqueror 
and ruler of Ital}", and now under men for whom he had 
no respect, and who saw in him a formidable rival, he said 
to me one day, " The people of Paris do not remember 
anything. AVere I to remain here long, doing nothing, I 
should be lost. In this great Babylon one reputation 
displaces another. Let me be seen but three times at the 
theatre and I shall no longer excite attention ; so I shall 
go there but seldom." When he went he occupied a box 
shaded with curtains. The manager of the opera wished 
to get up a special performance in his honour ; but he 
declined the offer. When I observed that it must be 
agreeable to him to see his fellow-citizens so eagerly run- 
ning after him, he replied, " Bah ! the people would 
crowd as fast to see me if I were going to the scaffold." * 

On the 28th of December Bonaparte was named a 
member of the Institute, in the class of the Sciences and 

' A «iniiltir remark made to William III. on his lamlinp at Brixham elicited tho 
comment, " Like the Jews, who cried one day ' Hosanua ! ' and the next " Crucify 
Him 1 crucify Him 1 " 


Arts/ He showed a deep sense of this honour, and wrote 
the following letter to Camus, the president of the class : — 

Citizen President — The suffrage of the distinguielied men who 
compose the Institute confers a high honour on me. I feel well 
assured that, before I can be their equal, I must long be their 
scholar. If there were anj way more expressive than another of 
making known my esteem for you, I should be glad to employ it. 
True conquests — the only ones which leave no regret behind them 
— are those which are made over ignorance. The most honourable, 
as well as the most useful, occupation for nations is the contributing 
to the extension of human knowledge. The true power of the 
French Republic should henceforth be made to consist in not allow- 
ing a single new idea to exist without making it part of its property. 


The General now renewed, though unsuccessfully, the 
attempt he had made before the 18th Fructidor to obtain 
a dispensation of the age necessary for becoming a Di- 
rector. Perceiving that the time was not yet favourable 
for such a purpose, he said to me, on the 29th of January 

1798, " Bourrieune, I do not wish to remain here ; there 
is nothing to do. They are unwilling to listen to any- 
thing. I see that if I linger here, I shall soon lose myself. 
Everything wears out here ; my glory has already disap- 
peared. This little Europe does not supply enough of it 
for me. I must seek it in the East, the fountain of glory. 
However, I wish first to make a tour along the coast, to 
ascertain by my own observation what may be attempted. 
I will take you, Lanncs, and Sulkowsky, with me. If 
the success of a descent on England appear doubtful, as 
I suspect it will, the army of England shall become the 
army of the East, and I will go to Egypt." 

Tliiy and other conversations give a correct insight into 
his character. He always considered war and con(iuest as 

' Nnjwlcon w^oms to have renlly coiiKidcrod UiIh nomiimtion nn a >{roiit honour. 
He vvaH fond of uMinK thu tilU; in hiK pnxtliitnatlonu ; and to the hiKl thu ullowanou 
attached to tho appolutiiiuut ligurod In llic luipcrial uccouutd. Uo leplacud CaruoL, 
thu uxllcd Dixuctur. 


the most noble and inexhaustible source of that glory 
which was the constant object of his desire. He revolted 
at the idea of languishing in idleness at Paris, while fresh 
laurels were growing for him in distant climes. His im- 
agination inscribed, in anticipation, his name on those 
gigantic monuments which alone, perhajDS, of all the crea- 
tions of man, have the character of eternity. Already 
proclaimed the most illustrious of living generals, he 
sought to efface the rival names of antiquity by his own. 
If Cœsar fought fifty battles, he longed to fight a hundred : 
if Alexander left Macedon to penetrate to the Temple of 
Ammon, he wished to leave Paris to travel to the Cataracts 
of the Nile. While he was thus to run a race with fame, 
events would, in his opinion, so proceed in France as to 
render his return necessary and opportune. His place 
would be ready for him, and he should not come to claim 
it a forgotten or unknown man. 

17ML 127 



Bonaparte's departure from Paris— His return— The Egyptian expedition 
projected — M. de Talleyrand — General Desaix — Expedition against 
Malta — Money taken at Berne — Bonaparte's ideas respecting the 
East — Monge — Non-influence of the Directory — Marriages of Mar- 
mont and La Valette — Bonaparte's plan of colonising Egypt — His 
camp library — Orthographical blunders — Stock of wines — Bona- 
parte's arrival at Toulon — Madame Bonaparte's fall from a balcony — 
Execution of an old man — Simon. 

Bonaparte left Paris for the north on the 10th of Febru- 
ary 1798 — but he received no order, though I have seen 
it everywhere so stated, to go there — " for the purpose of 
preparing the operations connected with the intended in- 
vasion of England." He occupied himself with no such 
business, for which a few days certainly would not have 
been sufficient. His journey to the coast was nothing but 
a rapid excursion, and its sole object was to enable him 
to form an opinion on the main j^oint of the question. 
Neither did he remain absent several weeks, for the jour- 
ney occupied only one. Tliere were four of us in his 
carriage — himself, Lannes, Sulkowsky, and I. Moustache 
was our courier. Bonaparte was not a little surprised 
on reading, in the Moniteur of the 10th February, an arti- 
cle giving greater importance to his little excursion than 
it deserved. 

"General Bonaparte,'' said tho Moniteur, "has departed for 
Dunkirk with some naval and engineer officers. They have gone 
to visit tlie coasts and prepare the preliminary operations for tho 
descent [tipon England ]. It may he stated tliat ho will not return 
to Rastadt, and that thu close of the session of the Congress there 
is approaching." 


Now for the facts. Bonaparte visited Etaples, Amble- 
teuse, Boulogne, Calais, Dunkirk, Furnes, Niewport, 
Ostend, and the Isle of Walcberen. He collected at the 
different ports all the necessary information with that in- 
telligence and tact for which he was so eminentl}' dis- 
tinguished. He questioned the sailors, smugglers, and 
fishermen, and listened attentively to the answers he 

We returned to Paris by Antwerp, Brussels, Lille, and 
St. Quentin. The object of our journey was accomplished 
when we reached the first of these towns. " Well, General," 
said I, " what think you of our journey? Are you satis- 
fied ? For my part, I confess I entertain no great hopes 
from anything I have seen and heard." Bonaparte im- 
mediately answered, "It is too great a chance. I will 
not hazard it. I would not thus sport with tlie fate of 
my beloved France." On hearing this I already fancied 
myself in Cairo ! 

On his return to Paris Bonaparte lost no time in set- 
ting on foot the military and scientific preparations for 
the j^rojected expedition to the banks of the Nile, re- 
specting which such incorrect statements have appeared. 
It had long occupied his thouglits, as the following facts 
will prove. 

In the month of August 1797 he wrote " that the time 
was not far distant when we should see that, to destroy 
the power of England effectually, it would be necessary 
to attack Egypt." In the same month he wrote to Talley- 
rand, who had just succeeded Charles de Lacroix as 
Minister of Foreign Affixirs, " that it would be necessary 
to attack Egypt, which did not belong to the Grand Sig- 
nior." Talleyrand replied, "that liis ideas respecting 
Egypt were certainly grand, and that their utility could 
not fail to be fully appreciated." He concluded by 
saying he would write to him at length on the subject. 

History will speak as favourably of M. de Talleyrand as 


his contemporaries have spoken ill of him. When a 
statesman, throughout a great, long, and difficult career, 
makes and preserves a number of faithful friends, and 
provokes but fe\v enemies, it must be acknowledged that 
his character is honourable and his talent profound, and 
that his political conduct has been wise and moderate. It 
is impossible to know M. de Talleyrand without admiring 
him. All who have that advantage, no doubt, judge him 
as I do. 

In the month of November of the same year Bonaparte 
sent Poussielgue, under the pretence of inspecting the 
ports of the Levant, to give the finishing stroke to the 
meditated expedition against Malta. 

General Desaix, whom Bonaparte had made the confi- 
dant of all his plans at their interview in Italy after the 
preliminaries of Leoben, wrote to him from Affenbourg, 
on his return to Germany, that he regarded the fleet of 
Corfu with great interest. " If ever," said he, " it should 
be engaged in the grand enterprises of which I have 
heard you speak, do not, I beseech you, forget me." Bona- 
parte was far from forgetting him. 

The Directory at first disapproved of the expedition 
against Malta, which Bonaparte had proposed long before 
the treaty of Campo Formio was signed. The expedition 
was decided to be impossible, for Malta had observed 
strict neutrality, and had on several occasions even 
assisted our ships and seamen. Thus we had no pretext 
for going to war with her. It was said, too, that the 
legislative body would certainly not look with a favourable 
•eye on such a measure. This opinion, which, however, 
did not last long, vexed Bonaparte. It was one of the 
disappointments which made him give a rough welcome 
to Bottot, Barras* agent, at the commencement of Octo- 
ber 171)7. 

In the course of an animated conversation ho suid to 
Bottot, shrugging his shoulders, " Mon Dieu ! Malta is 
Vol. I.— y , 


for sale ! " Sometime after he himself was told that 
*' great importance was attached to the acquisition of 
Malta, and that he must not suffer ii to escape." At the 
latter end of September 1797 Talleyrand, then Minister 
of Foreign Affairs, wrote to him that the Directory 
authorized him to give the necessary orders to Admiral 
Brueys for taking Malta. He sent Bonaparte some 
letters for the island, because Bonaparte had said it was 
necessary to prepare the public mind for the event. 

Bonaparte exerted himself night and day in the execu- 
tion of his projects. I never saw him so active. He 
made himself acquainted with the abilities of the respec- 
tive generals, and the force of all the army corps. Orders 
and instructions succeeded each other with extraordinary 
rapidity. If he wanted an order of the Directory he ran 
to the Luxembourg to get it signed by one of the Direct- 
ors. Merlin de Douai was generally the person who did 
him this service, for he was the most constant at his post. 
Lagarde, the Secretary-General, did not countersign any 
document relative to this expedition, Bonaparte not wish- 
ing him to be informed of the business. He transmitted 
to Toulon the money taken at Berne, which the Directory 
had placed at his disposal. It amounted to" something 
above 3,000,000 francs. In those times of disorder and 
negligence the finances were very badly managed. The 
revenues were anticipated and squandered away, so that 
the treasury never possessed so large a sum as that just 

It was determined that Bonaj^arte should undertake an 
expedition of an unusual character to the East. I must 
confess that two things cheered me in this very painful 
interval ; my friendship and admiration for the talents 
of the conqueror of Italy, and the pleasing hope of 
traversing those ancient regions, the historical and relig- 
ious accounts of which had engaged the attention of my 

1798. THE ARMY OF THE EAST. 131 

It was at Passeriano that, seeing the approaching termi- 
nation of his labours in Europe, he first began to turn 
serious attention to the East. During his long strolls in 
the evening in the magnificent park there he delighted to 
converse about the celebrated events of that part of the 
■world, and the many famous empires it once possessed. 
He used to say, " Euroj^e is a mole-hill. There have never 
been great empires and revolutions except in the East, 
where there are 600,000,000 men." He considered that 
part of the world as the cradle of all religions, of all 
metaphysical extravagances. This subject was no less 
interesting than inexhaustible, and he daily introduced it 
when conversing with the generals with whom he was 
intimate, with Monge, and with me. 

Monge entirely concurred in the General-in-Chief's opin- 
ions on this point ; and his scientific ardour was increased 
by Bonaparte's enthusiasm. In short, all were unani- 
mously of one opinion. The Directory had no share in 
renewing the project of this memorable expedition, the 
result of which did not correspond with the grand views 
in which it had been conceived. Neither had the Direc- 
tory any positive control over Bonaparte's departure or 
return. It was merely the passive instrument of the 
General's wishes, which it converted into decrees, as the 
law required. He was no more ordered to undertake the 
conquest of Egypt than he was instructed as to the plan of 
its execution. Bonaparte organised the army of the East, 
raised money, and collected shij^s ; and it was he who 
conceived the happy idea of joining to the expedition men 
distinguished in science and art, and whose labours have 
made known, in its present and past state, a country, the 
very name of which is never pronounced without exciting 
grand recollections. 

Bonaparte's orders flow like lightning from Toulon to 
Civita V(ïcchia. With admirable ])i-(>ciHi()n ho a])pointed 
some forces to assemble before IMalta, and others before 


Alexandria. He dictated all these orders to me iu Lis 

In the position in which France stood with respect to 
Europe, after the treaty of Canipo-Formio, the Directory, 
far from pressing or even facilitating this expedition, 
ought to have opposed it. A victory on the Adige would 
have been far better for France than one on the Nile. 
From all I saw, I am of opinion that the wish to get rid 
of an ambitious and rising man, whose popularity excited 
envy, triumphed over the evident danger of removing, for 
an indefinite period, an excellent army, and the possible 
loss of the French fleet. As to Bonaparte, he was well 
assured that nothing remained for him but to choose 
between that hazardous enterprise and his certain ruin. 
Egypt was, he thought, the right place to maintain his 
reputation, and to add fresh glory to his name. 

On the 12th of April 179S he was appointed General- 
in-Chief of the army of the East. 

It was about this time that Marmont was married to 
Mademoiselle Perregaux ; and Bonaparte's aide de camp, 
La Yallette, to Mademoiselle Beauliarnais.^ 

Shortly before our departure I asked Bonaparte how 
long he intended to remain in Egypt. He replied, "A 
few months, or six 3-ears : all depends on circumstances. 
I w^ll colonise the country. I will bring them artists and 
artisans of every description ; women, actors, etc. We are 
but nine-and-twenty now, and we shall then be five-and- 
thirty. That is not an old age. Those six years will en- 
able me, if all goes well, to get to India. Give out that 
you are going to Brest. Say so even to your family." I 
obeyed, to prove my discretion and real attachment to 

Bonaparte wished to form a camp library of cabinet 

> Sir Walter Scott informs us thnt Josephine, when she became Empress, brought 
about the marriage between her niece and La Valletta. This is another flctitioii* 
Incident of his historica] romance. — Bourrienne. 


editions, and lie gave me a list of the books which I was 
to purchase. This list is in his own writing, and is as 
follows : — Ç 


1. Arts and Science. — Fontenelle's Worlds^ 1 wl. Letters to a 
Oerman Princess, 2 vols. Courses of the Normal School, 6 vols. Tlie 
Artillery Assistant, 1 vol. Treatise on Fortifications, 3 vols. Treatise 
on Fireworks, 1 vol. 

2. Geography and Travels. — Barclay^s Geography, 12 vols. 
Cook^s Voyayes, 3 vols. La Harpe's Travels, 24 vols. 

3. History. — Plutarch, 12 vols. Turenne, 2 vols. ConcU, 4 rols. 

Villars, 4 vols. Luxembourg, 2 vols. Duguesclin, 2 vols. Saxe, 3 
vols. Memoirs of the Marsluils of France, 20 vols. President 
Hainault, 4 vols. Chronology, 2 vols. Marlborough, 4 vols. Prince 
Eugène, 6 vols. Philosophical History of India, 12 vols. Germany, 
2 vols. Charles XII., 1 vol. Essay on iJie Manners of Nations, 6 
vols. Peter the Great, 1 vol. Polybius, 6 vols. Justin, 2 vols. 
Arrian, 3 vols. Tacitus, 2 vols. Titus Lirry. Thucydides, 2 vols. 

Vertot, 4 vols. Denina, 8 vols. Frederick II. , 8 vols. 

4. Poetry. — Ossian, 1 vol. Tasso, C vols. Ariosto, G vols. 
Homer, 6 vols. Virgil, 4 vols. The Henriade, 1 vol. Telemachus, 2 
vols. Les Jardins, 1 vol. The Ghefs-d'CEurre of the French Theatre, 
2i) vols. Select Light Poetry, \0 vols. La Fontaine. 

5. Romance. — FoZ^^iM'c, 4 vols. Helolsc, 4 vols. Werther, 1 vol. 
Mar mantel, 4 vols. English Novels, 40 vols. Le Sage, 10 vols. 
Prévost, 10 Ï0&. 

6. Politics and Morals.— TAc OM Testament. TJie New Testa- 
ment. The Koran. The Vedan. Mytlwlogy. Montesquieu. The 
Eqirit des Lois. 

It will be observed that he classed the books of the 
religious creeds of nations under the head of " politics." 

The autograph copy of the above list contains some of 
tlioso orthographical blunders which iJoiiaparto so fre- 
quently committed. Whether these blunders are attrib- 
utable to the limited course of instruction he received at 
}3rienne, to liis hasty writing, the rapid ilow of his ideas, 
or the little importance he attached to that indispensable 


condition of polite education, I know not. Knowing so 
well as lie did the authors and generals whose names ap- 
pear in the above list, it is curious that he should have 
^^Titten Duceding for Duguesclin, and Ocean for Ossian. 
Tlie latter mistake would have puzzled me not a little had 
I not known his predilection for the Caledonian bard. 

Before his departure Bonaparte laid in a considerable 
stock of Burgundy. It was supphed by a man named 
James, of Dijon. I may observe that on this occasion we 
had an ojDjoortunity of ascertaining that good Burgundy, 
well racked off, and in casks hermetically sealed, does not 
lose its quality on a sea voyage. Several cases of this 
Burgundy twice crossed the desert of the Isthmus of Suez 
on camels' backs. We brought some of it back with us 
to Frejus, and it was as good as when we departed. 
James went with us to Egypt. 

During the remainder of our stay in Paris nothing oc- 
curred worthy of mention, with the exception of a conver- 
sation between Bonaparte and me some days before our 
departure for Toulon. He went with me to the Luxem- 
bourg to get signatures to the official papers connected 
with his expedition. He was very silent. As we passed 
through the Rue Sainte Anne I asked him, with no other 
object than merely to break a long pause, whether he was 
still determined to quit France. He replied, " Yes : I 
have tried everything. They do not want me (probably 
alluding to the office of Director). I ought to overthrow 
them, and make myself King ; but it will not do yet. 
The nobles will never consent to it. I have tried my 
ground. The time is not yet come. I should be alone. 
But I will dazzle them again." I replied, "Well, we will 
go to Egypt ; " and changed the conversation." 

• Lucien tind the Bonapnrtists of course deny that Napoleon wished to become 
Direct<jr, or lo seize on ix>\ver at this time; see Lucien, tome i. p. 164. Thiers (vuL. 
V. p. 257) takes the same view. Lnnfrey (tome i. \^. o63) believes Napoleon was at 
last rompclled by the Directory to start, and he credits the story t<)ld by Desaix to 
Mathieu Dumas, or rather to the wife of that officer, that tlicie was a plot to up^et 



The squabble with Bernadotte at Vienna delayed our 
departui'e for a fortnight, and might have had the most 
disastrous influence on the fate of the squadron, as Nelson 
would most assuredly have waited between Malta and 
Sicily if he had arrived there before us.^ 

It is untrue that he ever entertained the idea of 
abandoning the expedition in consequence of Bernadotte's 
affair. The following letter to Brueys, dated the 28th 
of April 1798, proves the contrary : — 

Some disturbances which have arisen at Vienna render my pres- 
ence in Paris necessary for a few days. This will not change any 
of the arrangements for the expedition. I have sent orders by this 
courier for the troops at Marseilles to embark and proceed to Toulon. 
On the evening of the 30th I will send you a courier with orders for 
you to embark and proceed with the squadron and convoy to Genoa, 
where I will join you. 

The delay which this fresh event has occasioned will, I imagine, 
have enabled you to complete every preparation. 

We left Paris on the 3d of May 1798. Ten days be- 
fore Bonaparte's departure for Egypt a prisoner (Sir Sid- 
ney Smith) escaped from the Temple who was destined to 
contribute materially to his reverses. An escape so un- 
important in itself afterwards caused the failure of the 
most gigantic projects and daring conceptions. This 
escape was pregnant with future events ; a false order of 
the Minister of Police prevented the revolution of the 

the Directory, but that when ftll was ready Napoloon judged tbflt the time wns not 
rl|)<!. Lanfrey, however, rather enlarj^cK what Dumas says ; boo Dumas, tome iii. 
J). 157. Sec also the very remarkable conversation of Napoleon with Miot de Melito 
juKt before leaving' Italy for Iliistadt: ''I cannot obey any lon^'cr. I have taKted 
th(r pleaHurcB of command, and I cannot ronoinice it. My decision is taken. If I 
cannot be master, I «hall (juit France" (À/iot, U>nie i. p. 18-i). 

' Sir Walter Soott, without any Mulhority, Ktntes that, at the moment of hlH di*- 
parture, BonnpurU^ Heomed dlBposed t-o abandon the commanii of an expedition ho 
doubtful and hazardouH, and that for this ))urpoHe he endeavoured to take advanta^^e 
of what had o(< inrvd at Vienna. This nuist be ranked in the claHrtof inventiouH, to- 
^'etherwilh I'-arniH' niyKlcrir)iiH visit to coiniiiunicale the <;hniij;e of lii-Htination, and 
alHo the ontracibin and honourable exil»! wlii( h iIk^ Uinrtory wibhud to impobc oa 
Bonaparte. —Jiourriennc. 


"W'e were at Toulon on the 8tli. Bonaparte knew by 
the movements of the EngHsh that not a moment was to 
be lost ; but adverse winds detained iis ten days, which 
he occupied in attending to the most minute details con- 
nected with the fleet. 

Bonaparte, whose attention was constantly occupied 
with his army, made a speech to the soldiers, which I 
wrote to his dictation, and which appeared in the public 
papers at the time. This address was followed b}' cries 
of " The Immortal Eepublic for ever ! " and the singing 
of national hymns. 

Those who knew Madame Bonaparte are aware that few 
women were more amiable and fascinating. Bonaparte 
was passionately fond of her, and to enjoy the pleasure of 
her society as long as possible he brought her with him 
to Toulon. Nothing could be more affecting than their 
parting. On leaving Toulon Josephine went to the waters 
of Plombières. I recollect that during her stay at Plom- 
bières she incurred great danger from a serious accident. 
Whilst she was one day sitting at the balcony of the hotel, 
with her suite, the balcony suddenly gave way, and all 
the persons in it fell into the street. Madame BonajDarte 
was much hurt, but no serious consequences- ensued.' 

Bonaparte had scarcely arrived at Toulon when he 
lieard that the law for the death of cmigi-ants was en- 
forced with frightful rigour ; and that but recently an old 

1 " Madame Bonaparte had been but a Rhort time at Plombiùres, when one morninor, 
ns she was sitting in her drawing-room engaged at needlework and conversmg with 
Bomc ladies, Madame de Canibis, who was in the balcony, called her to look at a beau- 
tiful little dog that was passing through the street. All the Indies who were in the 
room immediately rose, and, following Madame Bonaparte, rushed to the balcony, 
which instantly gave way, and fell with a tremendous crash. It fortunately hap- 
pened that nobody was killed ; but Madame de Cambis had her leg broken, and 
Madame Bonaparte was dreadfully hurt, tiiough she escaped without broken bones. 
M. Char\'et, who was in an adjoining room, t)eing alarmed by the noise, ran out, 
and, on learning what had happened, he ordered a sheep to be immediately killed ; 
and the bkih of the animal being taken otT, Madame Bonaparte was wrapped in it. 
She suffered from the effects of this accident for a considerable time. Her hands and 
arms were so beverely bruised that she was long unable to use them " {Méntoiret de 


man, upwards of eighty, had been shot. Indignant at 
this barbarity, he dictated to me, in a tone of anger, the 
following letter : — 

Headquarters, Toulon, 
27<A Floréal, year IV. {\Wi May 1T98). 

Bonaparte, Member of the National Institute, to the 
Military Commissioners of the Ninth Division, estab- 
lished BY THE Law op the 19th Fructidor. 

I have learned, citizens, with deep regret, that an old man, be- 
tween seventy and eighty years of age, and some unfortunate wom- 
en, in a state of pregnancy, or surrounded with children of tender 
age, have been shot on the charge of emigration. 

Have the soldiers of liberty become executioners ? Can the 
mercy which they have exercised even in the fury of battle be ex- 
tinct in their hearts ? 

The law of the 19th Frlictidor was a measure of public safety. 
Its object was to reach conspirators, not women and aged men. 

I therefore exhort you, citizens, whenever the law brings to your 
tribunals women or old men, to declare that in the field of battle ypu 
have respected the women and old men of your enemies. 

The officer who signs a sentence against a person incapable of 
bearing arms is a coward. (Signed) Bonaparte. 

This letter saved the life of an unfortunate man who 
came under the description of persons to whom Bona- 
parte referred. The tone of this note shows what an idea 
he already entertained of his power, lie took upon him, 
doubtless from the noblest motives, to step out of his way 
to interpret and interdict the execution of a law, atro- 
cious, it is true, but which even in those times of weak- 
ness, disorder, and anarchy was still a law. In tliis 
instance, at least, the power of his name was nobly em- 
ployed. Tlie letter gave great satisfaction to the army 
destined for the expedition. 

A man named Simon, who had followed his master in 
emigration, and dreaded the ai)plication of the law, heard 
that I wanted a servant. He came to mo and acknowl- 
edged his situation. Ho suited mo, and I hired him. 
He then told me he feared ho should be arrested whilst 


going to the port to embark. Bonaparte, to whom I 
mentioned the circumstance, and who had just given a 
striking proof of his aversion to these acts of barbarity, 
said to me in a tone of kindness, '' Give him my portfoHo 
to carry, and let him remain with you." The words 
"Bonaparte, General-in-Chief of the Army of the East," 
were inscribed in large gold letters on the green morocco. 
Whether it was the portfolio or his connection with us 
that prevented Simon from being arrested I know not ; 
but he passed on without interruption. I reprimanded 
him for having smiled derisively at the ill humour of the 
persons appointed to arrest him. He served me faith- 
fully, and was even sometimes useful to Bonaparte. 

1798. 139 



Departure of the squadron — Arrival at Malta — Dolomieu — General Bara- 
guay d'Hilliers— Attack on the western part of the island — Caffarelli's 
remark — Deliverance of the Turkish prisoners — Nelson's pursuit of 
the French fleet — Conversations on board — How Bonaparte passed his 
time — Questions to the Captains — Propo^^itions discussed — Morning 
music — Proclamation — Admiral Brueys — The English fleet avoided — 
Dangerous landing —Bonaparte and his fortune — Alexandria taken — 
Kléber wounded — Bonaparte's entrance into Alexandria. 

The squadron sailed on the 19th of May. The Orient^ 
which, owing to her heavy lading, drew too much water, 
touched the ground ; but she was got off without much 

We arrived off Malta on the 10th of June. We had lost 
two days in waiting for some convoys which joined us at 

The intrigues throughout Europe had not succeeded in 
causing the j^orts of thtit island to be opened to us imme- 
diately on our arrival. Bonaparte expressed much dis- 
pleasure against the persons sent from Euro2:)e to arrange 
measures for that purpose. One of them, however, M. 
Dolomieu, had cause to repent his mission, which occa- 
sioned him to be badly treated by the Sicilians. M 
Poussielgue had done all he could in the way of seduction, 
but he had not completfily succeeded. There was some 
misunderstanding, and, in couKC'(|uence, some shots were 
interchanged. Bonai)arte was very much pleased with 
General Baraguay d'Hilliers' services in Italy. He could 
not but praise his military and political conduct at Venice 


when, scarcely a year before, lie had taken possession of 
that city by his orders. General Baraguay d'Hilliers 
joined us with his division, which had embarked in the 
convoy that sailed from Genoa, The General-in Chief 
ordered him to land and attack the western part of the 
island. He executed this order with equal prudence and 
ability, and highly to the satisfaction of the General-in- 
Chief. As every person in the secret knew that all this 
was a mere form, these hostile demonstrations produced 
no unpleasant consequences. We wished to save tho 
honour of the knights — that was all ; for no one who has 
seen Malta can imagine that an island surrounded with 
such formidable and j^erfect fortifications would have sur- 
rendered in two days to a fleet which was pursued by an 
enemy. The impregnable fortress of Malta is so secure 
against a coup de main that General Caffarelli, after 
examining its fortifications, said to the General-in-Chief, 
in my presence, "Upon my word. General, it is lucky 
there is some one in the town to open the gates for us." 

By comparing the observation of General Caffarelli 
with what lias been previously stated respecting the pro- 
"ject of the expedition to Egypt and ]\Ialta, an idea nia}^ be 
formed of the value of Bonaparte's assertion at St. Helena : 
" The capture of Malta was not owing to private intrigues, 
but to the sagacity of tlie Commander-in-chief. I took 
Malta when I was in Mantua ! " It is not the less true, 
however, that I wrote, by his dictation, a mass of instruc- 
tions for private intrigues. Napoleon also said to another 
noble companion of his exile at St Helena, " Malta cer- 
tainly possessed vast physical means of resistance ; but 
no moral means. The knights did nothing dishonourable : 
nobody is obliged to do impossibilities. No ; but they 
were sold ; Wiid capture of Malta Avas assured before we 
left Toulon." 

The General-in-Chief proceeded to that part of the port 
where the Turks made prisoners by the knights were kept. 



The disgusting galleys were emptied of their occupants. 
The same principles which, a few days after, formed the 
basis of Bonaparte's proclamation to the Egyptians, 
guided him in this act of reason and humanity. 

He walked several times in the gardens of the grand- 
master. They were in beautiful order, and filled with 
magnificent orange-trees. We regaled ourselves with 
their fruit, which the great heat rendered most delici- 

On the 19th of June, after having settled the govern- 
ment and defence of the island, the General left Malta, 
which he little dreamed he had taken for the English, 
who have very badly requited the obligation. Many of 
the knights followed Bonaparte and took civil and mih- 
tary appointments. 

During the night of the 22d of June the English squad- 
ron was almost close upon us. It passed at about six 
leagues from the French fleet. Nelson, who learned the 
capture of Malta at Messina on the day we left the island, 
sailed direct for Alexandria, without proceeding into the 
north. He considered that city to be the place of our 
destination. By taking the shortest course, with every 
sail set, and unembarrassed by any convoy, he arrived 
before Alexandria on the 28th of June, three days before 
the French fleet, which, nevertheless, had sailed before 
Lim from the shores of Malta. The French squadron 
took the direction of Candia, which we perceived on the 
25th of June, and afterwards stood to the soutli, favoured 
by the Etesian winds, which regularly prevail at that sea- 
son. The French fleet did not reach Alexandria till the 
30th of June. 

When on board the Orient ho took pleasure in convers- 
ing frequently with Mongo and Berthollet. The subjects 
on which they usually talked were chemistry, mathemat- 
ics, and religion. General CallaniUi, whoso conversation, 
supplied by knowledge, was at onco energetic, witty, and 


lively, was one of those with whom he most wilHugly dis- 
coursed. Whatever friendship he might entertain for 
Berthollet, it was easy to perceive that he preferred 
Monge, and that he was led to that preference because 
Monge, endowed with an ardent imagination, without ex- 
actly possessing religious principles, had a kind of pre- 
disposition for religious ideas which harmonised with the 
notions of Bonaparte. On this subject Berthollet some- 
times rallied his inseparable friend Monge. Besides, 
Berthollet was, with his cold imagination, constantly de- 
voted to analysis and abstractions, inclined towards ma- 
terialism, an opinion with which the General was always 
much dissatisfied. 

Bonaparte sometimes conversed with Admiral Brueys. 
His object was always to gain information respecting the 
different manœuvres, and nothing astonished the Admiral 
more than the sagacity of his questions. I recollect that 
one day, Bonaparte having asked Brueys in w^hat manner 
the hammocks were disposed of when clearing for action, 
he declared, after he had received an answer, that if the 
case should occur he would order every one to throw his 
baggage overboard. 

He passed a great part of his time in his cabin, lying on 
a bed, which, swinging on a kind of castors, alleviated the 
severity of the sea-sickness from w^iich he frequently suf- 
fered much when the ship rolled. 

I was almost always with him in his cabin, where I read 
to him some of the favourite works which he had selected 
for his camp library. He also frequently conversed, for 
hours together, with the captains of the vessels which he 
hailed. He never failed to ask whence they came ? what 
was their destination ? what ships they had met ? what 
course they had sailed ? His curiosity being thus satis- 
fied, he allowed them to continue their voyage, after mak- 
ing them promise to say nothing of having seen the French 

1798. LIFE ON BOARD THE '* ORIENT.'* 143 

Whilst we were at sea he seldom rose before ten o'clock 
in the morning. The Orient had the appearance of a popu- 
lous town, from which women had been excluded ; and 
this floating city was inhabited by 2000 individuals, 
amongst whom were a great number of distinguished men. 
Bonaparte every day invited several persons to dine with 
him, besides Brueys, Berthier, the colonels, and his ordi- 
naiy household, who were always present at the table of 
the General-in-Chief. When the weather was fine he went 
up to the quarter-deck, which, from its extent, formed a 
grand promenade. 

I recollect once that when walking the quarter-deck with 
him whilst we were in Sicilian waters I thought I could see 
the summits of the Alps, beautifully lighted by the rays of 
the setting sun. Bonaparte laughed much, and joked 
me about it. He called Admiral Brueys, who took his 
telescope and soon confirmed my conjecture. The Alps ! 
At the mention of that word by the Admiral I think I can 
see Bonaparte still. He stood for a long time motionless ; 
then, suddenly bursting from his trance, exclaimed, " No ! 
I cannot behold the land of Italy without emotion ! There 
is the East : and there I go ; a perilous enterprise invites 
me. Those mountains command the plains where I so 
often had the good fortune to lead the French to victory. 
With them we will conquer again." 

One of Bonaparte's greatest pleasures during the voyage 
was, after dinner, to fix upon three or four persons to 
support a proposition and as many to oppose it. He had 
an object in view by this. These discussions afforded him 
an opportunity of studying the minds of those whom he 
liad an interest in knowing well, in order that he might 
afterwards confide to each the functions for which he 
possessed the greatest aptitude. It will not appear singu- 
lar to those who liave been intimate witli Bonaparte, that 
in those intellectual contests he gave the preference to 
those who had supported an absurd proposition with ability 


over those who had maintained the cause of reason ; and 
it was not superiority of mind which determined his judg- 
ment, for he really preferred the man who argued well 
in favour of an absurdity to the man who argued equally' well 
in support of a reasonable proposition. He always gave 
oat the subjects which were to be discussed ; and they 
most frequently turned uj^on questions of religion, the dif- 
ferent kinds of government, and the art of war. One day 
he asked whether the planets were inhabited ; on another, 
what was the age of the world ; then he proj^osed to con- 
sider the probability of the destruction of oiu' globe, either 
by water or fire ; at another time, the truth or fallacy of 
presentiments, and the interpretation of dreams. I re- 
member the ch'cumstance which gave rise to the last pro- 
jDosition was an allusion to Joseph, of whom he happened 
to speak, as he did of almost everything connected with 
the country to which we were bound, and which that able 
administrator had governed. No country came under 
Bonaparte's observation without recalling historical re- 
collections to his mind. On passing the island of Candia 
his imagination was excited, and he spoke with enthusiasm 
of ancient Crete and the Colossus, whose fabulous renown 
has surpassed all human glories. He spoke much of the 
fall of the empire of the East, which bore so little resem- 
blance to what history has preserved of those fine countries, 
so often moistened with the blood of man. The ingen- 
ious fables of mythology hkewise occurred to his mind, 
and imparted to his language something of a poetical, and, 
I may say, of an inspired character. The sight of the 
kingdom of Minos led him to reason on the laws best cal- 
culated for the government of nations ; and the birthplace 
of Jupiter suggested to him the necessity of a religion for 
the mass of mankind. This animated convei-sation lasted 
until the favourable north winds, which drove the clouds 
into the valley of the Nile, caused us to lose sight of the 
island of Candia. 


The musicians on board the Orient sometimes played 
serenades ; but only between decks, for Bonaparte was 
not yet sufficiently fond of music to wish to hear it in his 
cabin. It may be said that his taste for this art increased 
in the direct ratio of his power ; and so it was with his 
taste for hunting, of which he gave no indication until 
after his elevation to the empire ; as though he had 
wished to prove that he possessed within himself not only 
the genius of sovereignty for commanding men, but also 
the instinct for those aristocratical pleasures, the enjoy- 
ment of which is considered by mankind to be amongst the 
attributes of kings. 

It is scarcely possible that some accidents should not 
occur during a long voyage in a crowded vessel — that some 
persons should not fall overboard. Accidents of this kind 
frequently happened on board the Orient. On those occa- 
sions nothing was more remarkable thau the great human- 
ity of the man who has since been so prodigal of the blood 
of his fellow-creatures on the field of battle, and who was 
about to shed rivers of it even in Egypt, whither we were 
bound. When a man fell into the sea the General-in-Chief 
was in a state of agitation till he was saved. He instantly 
had the ship hove-to, and exhibited the greatest uneasiness 
until the unfortunate individual was recovered. He ordered 
me to reward those who ventured their lives in this service. 
Amongst these was a sailor who had incurred punishment 
for some fault. He not only exempted him from the punish- 
ment, but also gave him some money. I recollect that one 
dark night we heard a noise like that occasioned by a man 
falling into the sea. Bonaparte instantly caused the ship to 
be hove-to until tlie supposed victim was rescued from cer- 
tain death. Tlic men hastened from all sides, and at length 
they picked up — what? — the quarter of a bullock, which 
had fallen from the hook to which it was hung. Wliat was 
Bonaparte's conduct? He ordered m© to reward the sail- 
ors who had exerted themselves on this occasion even more 
Vol. I.-IO 


generously than usual, saying, "It might have been a sailor, 
and these brave fellows have shown as much activity and 
courage as if it had.' 

After the lapse of thirty years all these things are as 
fresh in my recollection as if they were passing at the 
present moment. In this manner Bonaparte employed 
his time on board the Orient during the voyage, and it was 
also at this time that he dictated to me the following pro- 
clamation : — 

Headquabtkhb on boasd the " Orient," 
the 4^A Messidor, year VI. 

Bonaparte, Member of the National Institute, 

Soldiers — You are about to undertake a conquest the effects of 
which on civilization and commerce are incalculable. The blow you 
are about to g-ive to England will be the best aimed, and the most sen- 
sibly felt, she can receive until the time arrive when you can give 
her her deathblow. 

We must make some fatiguing marches ; we must fight several 
battles ; we shall succeed in all we undertake. The destinies are 
with us. The Mameluke Beys who favour exclusively English com- 
merce, whose extortions oppress our merchants, and who tyrannise 
over the unfortunate inhabitants of the Xile, a few days after our 
arrival will no longer exist. 

The people amongst whom we are going to live are Mahometans. 
The first article of their faith is this : " There is no God but God, 
and Mahomet is his prophet." Do not contradict them. Behave 
to them as you have behaved to the Jews — to the Italians. Pay 
respect to their muftis, and their Imaums, as you did to the rabbis 
and the bishops. Extend to the ceremonies prescribed by tlie Ko- 
ran and to the mosques the same toleration which you showed to 
the synagogues, to the religion of jNIoses and of Jesus Christ. 

The Roman legions protected all religions. You will find here 
customs different from those of Europe. You must accommodate 
yourselves to them. The people amongst whom we are to mix differ 
from us in the treatment of women ; but in all countries he who 
violates is a monster. Pillage enriches only a small number of 
men; it dishonours us ; it destroys our resources; it converts into 
enemies the people whom it is our interest to have for friends. 


The first town we shall come to was built by Alexander. At every 
step we shall meet with grand recollections, worthy of exciting the 
emulation of Frenchmen. Bonaparte. 

During the voyage, and particularly between Malta and 
Alexandria, I often conversed with the brave and unfortu- 
nate Admiral Brueys. The intelligence we heard from 
time to time augmented his uneasiness. I had the good 
fortune to obtain the confidence of this worthy man. He 
complained bitterly of the imperfect manner in which the 
fleet had been prepared for sea ; of the encumbered state 
of the ships of the line and frigates, and especially of the 
Orient ; of the great number of transports ; of the bad 
outfit of all the ships and the weakness of their crews. 
He assured me that it required no little courage to under- 
take the command of a fleet so badly equipped ; and he 
often declared, that in the event of our falling in with the 
enem}^ he could not answer for the consequences. The 
encumbered state of the vessels, the immense quantity of 
civil and military baggage which each person had brought, 
and would wish to save, would render proper manoeuvres 
impracticable. In case of an attack, added Brueys, even 
by an inferior squadron, the confusion and disorder 
amongst so great a number of persons would produce an 
inevitable catastrophe. Finally, if the English had ap- 
peared with ten vessels onl}^ the Admiral could not have 
guaranteed a fortunate result. He considered victory to 
be a thing that was impossible, and even with a victory, 
what would have become of the expedition? " God send," 
he said, with a sigh, " that we maj' pass the English without 
meeting them ! " Ho appeared to foresee what did after- 
wards happen to him, not in the open sea, but in a situa- 
tion which he considered much more favourable to hia 

On the morning of the 1st of July tlio expedition an'ived 
off the coast of Africa, and the column of Septimus Soverua 
pointed out to us the city of Alexandria. Our situation 


and frame of miud liardly permitted us to reflect that in 
the distant point we beheld the city of the Ptolemies and 
Caesars, ^Yith its double port, its pharos, and the gigantic 
monuments of its ancient grandeur. Our imaginations 
did not rise to this pitch. 

Admiral Brueys had sent on before the frigate Juno to 
fetch M. Magallon, the French Consul. It was near four 
o'clock when he arrived, and the sea was very rough. 
He informed the General-in-Chief that Nelson had been 
off Alexandria on the 28th — that he immediately dis- 
patched a brig to obtain intelligence from the English 
agent. On the return of the brig Nelson instantly stood 
away with his squadron towards the north-east. But for a 
delay which our convoy from Civita Vecchia occasioned, we 
should have been on this coast at the same time as Nel- 

It appeai'ed that Nelson supposed us to be already at 
Alexandria when he arrived there. He had reason to 
suppose so, seeing that we left Malta on the 19th of June, 
whilst he did not sail from Messina till the 21st. Not 
finding us where he expected, and being persuaded we 
ought to have arrived there had Alexandria been the place 
of our destination, he sailed for Alexandretta in Syria, 
whither he imagined we had gone to effect a landing. This 
error saved the expedition a second time. 

Bonaparte, on hearing the details which the French 
Consul communicated, resolved to disembark immedi- 
ately. Admiral Brueys represented the difficulties and 
dangers of a disembarkation — the violence of the surge, 
the distance from the coast, — a coast, too, lined with reefs 
of rocks, the approaching night, and our perfect ignorance 
of the points suitable for landing. The Admiral, there- 
fore, urged the necessity of waiting till next morning ; that 
is to say, to delay the landing twelve hours. He observed 
that Nelson could not return from Syria for several days. 
Bonaparte listened to these representations with impa- 


tience and ill-humour. He replied peremptorily, " Admi- 
ral, we have no time to lose. Fortune gives me but three 
days ; if I do not profit by them we are lost." He relied 
much on fortune ; this chimerical idea constantly influ- 
enced his resolutions, 

Bonaparte having the command of the naval as well as 
the militaiy force, the Admiral was obliged to yield to his 

I attest these facts, which passed in my presence, and 
no part of which could escape my observation. It is quite 
false that it was owing to the appearance of a sail which, it 
is pretended, was descried, but of which, for my part, I 
saw nothing, that Bonaparte exclaimed, " Fortune, have 
you abandoned me ? I ask only five days ! " No such 
thing occurred. 

It was one o'clock in the morning of the 2d of July 
when we landed on the soil of Egypt, at Marabou, three 
leagues to the west of Alexandria. "We had to regret the 
loss of some lives ; but we had every' reason to expect that 
our losses would have been greater. 

At three o'clock the same morning the General-in-Chief 
marched on Alexandria with the divisions of Kleber, Bon, 
and Menou. The Bedouin Arabs, who kept hovering 
about our right flank and our rear, picked up the strag- 

Having arrived within gunshot of Alexandria, we scaled 
the ramparts, and French valour soon triumphed over all 

The first blood I saw shed in war was General Kleber's. 
He was struck in the head by a })all, not in storming the 
walls, but whilst heading the attack. He came to Pompey's 
Pillar, where many members of the slaff were assembled, 
and whore the Goncral-in-Chiof was watching the attack. 
I then spoke to Kleber for the first time, and from that day 
our friendship conimenc(Kl. I had the good fortune to 
contribute somewhat towards the assistance of which he 


stood in need, and which, as we were situated, could not 
be procured very easily. 

It has been endeavoured to represent the capture of 
Alexandria, which surrendered after a few hours, as a brill- 
iant exploit. The General-in-Chief himself wrote that the 
city had been taken after a few discharges of cannon ; the 
walls, badl}^ fortified, were soon scaled. Alexandria was 
not delivered up to pillage, as has been asserted, and 
often repeated. This would have been a most impolitic 
mode of commencing the conquest of Egypt, which had 
no strong places requiring to be intimidated by a great 

Bonaparte, with some others, entered the city by a nar- 
row street which scarcely allowed two persons to walk 
abreast ; I was with him. We were stopped by some 
musket-shots fired from a low window by a man and a 
woman. They repeated their fire several times. The 
guides who preceded their General kept up a heavy fire on 
the window. The man and woman fell dead, and we passed 
on in safety, for the place had surrendered. 

Bonaparte employed the six days during which he re- 
mained in Alexandria in establishing order in the city and 
province, with that activity and superior talent which I 
could never sufficiently admire, and in directing the march 
of the army across the province of Bohahire'h. He sent 
Desaix with 4500 infantry and GO cavalry to Beda, on the 
road to Damanhour. This general was the first to expe- 
rience the privations and sufferings which the whole army 
had soon to endure. His great mind, his attachment to 
Bonaparte, seemed for a moment about to yield to the ob- 
stacles which presented themselves. On the 15th of July 
he wrote from Bohahire'h as follows : "I beseech you do 
not let us stop longer in this position. My men are dis- 
couraged and murmur. Make us advance or fall back 
without delay. The villages consist merely of huts, ab- 
solutely without resources." 

\>i -• 



In these immense plains, scorched by the vertical rays 
of a burning sun, water, everywhere else so common, be- 
comes an object of contest. The wells and springs, those 
secret treasures of the desert, are carefully concealed from 
the travellers ; and frequently, after our most oppressive 
marches, nothing could be found to allay the urgent crav- 
ings of thirst but a little brackish water of the most dis- 
gusting description/ 

1 Some idea of the misery endured by the French troops on this occasion may be 
gathered from the following description in Napoleon's Memoirs, dictated at St. 
Helena : — 

" As the Hebrews wandering in the wilderness complained, and angrily asked 
Moses for the onions and flesh-pots of Egypt, the French soldiers constantly re- 
gretted the luxuries of Italy. In vain were they assured that the country was the 
most fertile in the world, that it was even superior to Lombardy ; how were they 
to be persuaded of this when they could get neither bread nor wine? We en- 
camped on iamiense quantities of wheat, but there was neither mill nor oven in 
the country. The biscuit brought from Alexandria had long been exhausted ; the 
soldiers were even reduced to bruise the wheat between two stones and to make 
cakes, which they baked under the ashes. Many parched the wheat in a pan, 
after which they boiled it. This was the best way to use the grain ; but, after 
all, it was not bread. The apprehensions of the soldiers increased daily, and rose 
to such a pitch that a great number of them said there was no great city of Cairo ; 
and that the place bearing that name was, like Damanhour, a vast assemblage of mere 
huts, destitute of everything that could render life comfortable or agreeable. To 
such a melancholy state of mind had they brought themselves that two dragoons 
threw themselves, completely clothed, into the Nile, where they were drowned. It 
is nevertheless true that, though there was neither bread nor wine, the resources 
which were procured with wheat, lentils, meat, and sometimes pigeons, furnished 
the army with food of some kind. But the evil was in the ferment of the mind. 
The officers complained more loudly than the soldiers, because the comparison was 
proportionately more disadvantageous to them. In Egypt they found neither tho 
quarters, the good table, nor the luxury of Italy. The General-in-Chief, wishing to set 
an example, used to bivouac in the midst of the army, and in tho least commodious 
spots. No one had either tent or provisions : the dinner of Napoleon and his staff 
consisted of a dish of lentils. The soldiers passed the evenings in political conver- 
sations, arguments, and complaints. ' Fu7' iv/utt purpose are loe come heref said 
some of them ; ' the Directori/ acts trniisporletl ?/.v.' ' CaJfarelU,^ said others, ' ia 
the agent that has been made use of to deceive the General- in- Chief .^ Many of 
them, having observed that wherever there wore vestiges of antiquity they were 
carefully searched, vented their spite in invective against tho iavaiils, or scientiflo 
men, who, they said, had ntarted the idea of the expedition in order to make these 
aearchen. .lests were showercd upon thein, even in ihcMr i)rescnce. The men called 
an ans a garant ; and said of Caffarelli Duf.ilga, alluding to hia wooden leg, 'll4 
taught at all these troubles ; he /uis one foot in /-Va/ice.' " 

162 1798, 


The mirage — Skirmishes with the Arabs — Mistake of General Desaix's 
division — Wretchedness of a rich sheik — Combat beneath the 
General's window — The flotilla on the Nile — Its distress and danger 
— The battle of Chebreisse — Defeat of the Mamelukes — Bonaparte's 
reception of me — Letter to Louis Bonaparte — Success of the French 
army — Triumphal entrance into Cairo — Civil and militar}^ organisa- 
tion of Cairo — Bonaparte's letter to his brother Joseph — Plan of 
colonisation. ' 

On the 7tli of July General Bonaparte left Alexandria for 
Damanliour. In the vast i^lains of Bohahire'h the mirage 
every moment presented to the eye -svide sheets of water, 
while, as we advanced, we found nothing but barren 
ground full of deep cracks. Villages, which at a distance 
appear to be surrounded with water, are, on a nearer ap- 
proach, discovered to be situated on heights, mostly ar- 
tificial, by which they are raised above the inundations 
of the Nile. This illusion continually recurs ; and it is 
the more treacherous, inasmuch as it presents to the ej'c 
the perfect representation of water, at the time when the 
w^ant of that article is most felt. This mirage is so con- 
siderable in the plain of Pelusium that shortly after sunrise 
no object is recognisable. The same phenomenon has been 
observed in other countries. Quintus Curtius says that 
in the deserts of Sogdiana, a fog rising from the earth 
obscures the light, and the surrounding country seems 
like a vast sea. The cause of this singular illusion is now 
fully explained ; and, from the observations of the learned 
Monge, it appears that the mirage will be found in al- 


most every country situated between the tropics where the 
local circumstances are similar. 

The Arabs harassed the army without intermission. 
The few wells met with in the desert were either filled up 
or the water was rendered unfit for use. The intolerable 
thirst with which the troops were tormented, even on this 
first march, was but ill allayed by brackish and unwhole- 
some water. The army crossed the desert with the 
rapidity of lightning, scarcely tasting a drop of water. 
The sufferings of the troops were frequently expressed by 
discouraging murmurs. 

On the first night a mistake occurred which might have 
proved fatal. AVe were advancing in the dark, under feeble 
escort, almost sleeping on our horses, when suddenly we 
were assailed by two successive discharges of musketry. 
We aroused ourselves and reconnoitred, and to our great 
satisfaction discovered that the only mischief was a slight 
wound received by one of our guides. Our assailants were 
the division of General Desaix, who, forming the advanced 
guard of the army, mistook us for a party of the enemj^ 
and fired upon us. It was speedily ascertained that the 
little advanced guard of the headquarters had not heard 
the "Qui vive?" of Desaix's advanced posts. 

On reaching Damanhour our headquarters were estab- 
lished at the residence of a sheik. The house had been 
new whitened, and looked well enough outside, but the 
interior was inconceivably wretched. Every domestic 
utensil was broken, and the only seats were a few dirty 
tattered mats. Bonaparte knew that the sheik was rich ; 
and having somewhat won his confidence, he asked him, 
tlirougli tlio medium of the interpreter, why, being in easy 
circumstances, he thus deprived himself of all comfort. 
"Some years ago," replied the slieik, "I repaired and 
fiirnisliod my hoiiso. Wlien tliis became known at Cairo 
a demand was made upon mo for money, because it waa 
said my expenses proved mc to bo rich. I refused to pay 


the money, and in consequence I was ill-treated, and at 
length forced to pay it. From that time I have allowed 
myself only the bare necessaries of life, and I shall buy no 
furniture for my house." The old man was lame in con- 
sequence of the treatment he had suffered. Woe to him 
who in this country is suspected of having a competency 
— a hundred spies are always ready to denounce him. 
The appearance of poverty is the only security against the 
rapine of power and the cupidity of barbarism. 

A little troop of Arabs on horseback assailed our head- 
quarters. Bonaparte, who was at the window of the 
sheik's house, indignant at this insolence, turned to one of 
his aides de camjy, who happened to be on duty, and said, 
" Croisier, take a few guides and drive those fellows away !" 
In an instant Croisier was in the plain with fifteen guides. 
A little skirmish ensued, and we looked on from the win- 
dow. In the movement and in the attack of Croisier and 
his party there was a sort of hesitation which the General- 
in-Chief could not comprehend. "Forward, I say! 
Charge I " he exclaimed from the window, as if he could 
have been heard. Our horsemen seemed to fall back as 
the Arabs returned to the attack ; and after a little con- 
test, maintained with tolerable spirit, the Ai'abs retired 
without loss, and without being molested in their retreat. 
Bonaparte could no longer repress his rage ; and when 
Croisier returned he experienced such a harsh reception 
that the poor fellow withdrew deeply mortified and dis- 
tressed. Bonaparte desired me to follow him and say 
something to console him : but all was in vain. " I can- 
not survive this," he said. "I will sacrifice ray life on the 
first occasion that ofiers itself. I will not live dishonoured." 
The word coxoard had escaped the General's lips. Poor 
Croisier died at Saint Jean d'Acre. 

On the 10th of July our headquarters were established at 
Rahmahanie'h, where they remained during the 11th and 
12th. At this place commences the canal which was 


cut by Alexander to convey water to his new city, and to 
facilitate commercial intercourse between Europe and the 

The flotilla, commanded by the brave chief of division 
Pen-ée, had just arrived from Eosetta. Perrée was on 
board the xebec Cerf.' Bonaparte placed on board the 
Cerf and the other vessels of the flotilla those individuals 
who, not being military, could not be serviceable in 
engagements, and whose horses served to mount a few of 
the troops. 

On the night of the 14th of July the General-in-Chief 
directed his march towards the south, along the left bank 
of the Nile. The flotilla sailed up the river parallel with 
the left wing of the army. But the force of the wind, 
which at this season blows regularly from the Mediter- 
ranean into the valley of the Nile, carried the flotilla far 
in advance of the army, and frustrated the plan of their 
mutually defending and supporting each other. The 
flotilla thus unprotected fell in with seven Turkish gun- 
boats coming from Cairo, and was exposed simultaneously 
to their fire and to that of the Mamelukes, fellahs, and 
Arabs who lined both banks of the river. They had 
small guns mounted on camels. 

Perree cast anchor, and an engagement commenced at 
nine o'clock on the 14th of July, and continued till half 
past twelve. 

At the same time the General-in-Chief met and at- 
tacked a corps of about 4000 Mamelukes. His object, as 
he afterwards said, was to turn the corps by the left of 
the village of Chebreisse, and to drive it upon the Nile. 

About eleven in the niorning Pern'e told nie that the 
Turks were doing iis more barm than we were doing 
them ; that our ammunition would soon bo exhausted ; 
that the army was far inland, and that if it did not make a 

' Roiia|>art.e had ^ront confidence in him. He hud coinninndud, uudui the Ueu- 
cral'B orderH, tiiu uavul forccH in tiju Adriatic iu \1^JÏ.—Bourrienn$. 


move to the left there would be no hope for us. Several 
vessels had already been boarded and taken by the 
Turks, who massacred the crews before our eyes, and with 
barbarous ferocity showed us the heads of the slaugh- 
tered men. 

Perree, at considerable risk, despatched several persons 
to inform the General-in-Chief of the desperate situa- 
tion of the flotilla. The cannonade which Bonaparte had 
heard since the morning, and the explosion of a Turkish 
gunboat, which was blown up by the artillery of the 
xebec, led him to fear that our situation was really peril- 
ous. He therefore made a movement to the left, in the 
direction of the Nile and Chebreisse, beat the Mamelukes, 
and forced them to retire on Cairo. At sight of the 
French troops the commander of the Turkish flotilla 
weighed anchor and sailed up the Nile. The two banks 
of the river were evacuated, and the flotilla escaped the 
destruction which a short time before had appeared in- 
evitable. Some writers have alleged that the Turkish 
flotilla was destroyed in this engagement. The truth is, 
the Turks did us considerable injury, while on their part 
they suffered but little. We had twenty men killed and 
several wounded. Upwards of 1500 cannon-shots were 
fired during the action. 

General Berthier, in his narrative of the Egyptian 
expedition, enumerates the individuals who, though not 
in the military service assisted Ferrée in this unequal and 
dangerous engagement. He mentions Monge, Berthollet, 
Andréossy, the paymaster, Junot, and Bourrienne, secre- 
tary to the General-in-Chief. It has also been stated that 
Sucy, the commissary-general, was seriously wounded 
while bravely defending a gunboat laden with provisions ; 
but this is incorrect. 

We had no communication with the army until the 
23d of July. On the 2'2d we came in sight of the 
Pyramids, and were informed that we were only about 


ten leagues from Gizeh, where they are situated. The 
cannonade which we heard, and which augmented in pro- 
portion as the north wind diminished, announced a seri- 
ous engagement ; and that same day we saw the banks of 
the Nile strewed with heaps of bodies, which the waves 
were every moment washing into the sea. This horrible 
spectacle, the silence of the surrounding villages, which 
had hitherto been armed against us, and the cessation of 
the firing from the banks of the river, led us to infer, 
with tolerable certainty, that a battle fatal to the Mame- 
lukes had been fought. The misery we suffered on our 
passage from Kahmahanie'h to Gizeh is indescribable. We 
lived for eleven days on melons and water, besides be- 
ing momentarily exposed to the musketry of the Ai-abs 
and the fellahs. We luckily escaped with but a few killed 
and wounded. The rising of the Nile was only begin- 
ning. The shallowness of the river near Cairo obliged us 
to leave the xebec and get on board a djerm. We 
reached Gizeh at three in the afternoon of the 23d of 

When I saluted the General, whom I had not seen 
for twelve days, he thus addressed me : "So you are 
here, are you ? Do you know that you have all of you 
been the cause of my not following up the battle of Che- 
breisse? It was to save you, Monge, Berthollet, and the 
others on board the flotilla that I hurried the movement 
of my left \x\)o\\ the Nile before my right had turned Che- 
breisse. But for that, not a single Mameluke would have 

"I thank you for my own part," replied I; "but in 
conscience could you have abandoned us, after taking 
away our horses, and making us go on board the xebec, 
whether we would or not?" He laughed, and tlien told 
me liow sorry lie was for the wound of Sucy, and the death 
of many useful men, whose places could not possibly be 
iilled up. 


He made me write a letter to his brother Louis, inform- 
ing him that he had gained a complete victory over the 
Mamelukes at Embabeh, opposite Boulac, and that the 
enemy's loss was 2000 men killed and wounded, 40 guns, 
and a great number of horses. 

The occupation of Cairo was the immediate consequence 
of the victory of Embabeh. Bonaparte established his 
head-quarters in the house of Elfy Bey, in the great 
square of Ezbekye'h. 

The march of the French army to Cairo was attended 
by an uninterrupted succession of combats and victories. 
We had won the battles of Rahmahanie'h, Chebreisse, and 
the Pyramids. The Mamelukes were defeated, and their 
chief, Mourad Bey, was obliged to fly into Upper Egypt. 
Bonaparte found no obstacle to oppose his entrance into 
the capital of Egypt, after a campaign of only twenty days. 

No conqueror, perhaps, ever enjoyed a victory so much 
as Bonaparte, and yet no one was ever less inclined to 
abuse his triumphs. 

We entered Cairo on the 2J:th of July, and the General- 
in-Chief immediately directed his attention to the civil and 
military organisation of the country. Only those who 
saw him in the vigour of his youth can form an idea of his 
extraordinary intelligence and activity. Nothing escaped 
his observation. Egypt had long been the object of his 
study ; and in a few weeks he was as well acquainted with 
the country as if he had lived in it ten years. He issued 
orders for observing the strictest discipline, and these 
orders were punctually obeyed. 

The mosques, the civil and religious institutions, the 
harems, the women, the customs of the country — all were 
scrupulously respected. A few days after they entered 
Cairo the French were freely admitted into the shops, and 
were seen sociably smoking their pipes with the inhabi- 
tants, assisting them in theii' occupations, and playing 
with their children. 


The day after his arrival in Cairo Bonaparte addressed 
to his brother Joseph the following letter, which was in- 
tercepted and printed. Its authenticity has been doubted, 
but I saw Napoleon write it, and he read it to me before 
he sent it off. 

1th Thermidor iJUbth July 1798). 

You will see in the public papers the bulletins of the battles and 
conquest of Egypt, which were sufficiently contested to add another 
wreath to the laurels of this army. Egypt is richer than any country 
in the world in corn, rice, vegetables, and cattle. But the people 
are in a state of utter barbarism. We cannot procure money, even 
to pay the troops. I may be in France in two months. 

Engage a country-house, to be ready for me on my arrival, either 
near Paris or in Burgundy, where I mean to pass the winter. ' 

(Signed) Bonaparte. 

This announcement of his departure to his brother is 
corroborated by a note which he despatched some days 
after, enumerating the supplies and individuals which he 
wished to have sent to Egypt. His note proves, more con- 
vincingly than any arguments, that Bonaparte earnestly 
wished to preserve his conquest, and to make it a French 
colony. It must be borne in mind thcit the note here 
alluded to, as well as the letter above quoted, was written 
long before the destruction of the fleet. 

1 Bonaparte's autograph note, after enumerating the troops and warlike stores he 
wished to be Hent, concluded with the following liHt : — 

Ist, a compiiny of actors ; 2d, a company of dancers ; 3d, some dealers in mario- 
nettes, at least thne or four ; 4th, a hundred French women ; Bth, the wives of all 
the men employed in the corps ; 6th, twenty surgeons, thirty apotheairies, anil ten 
physicians ; îth, some founders ; 8th. some distillers and dealers in liquor ; 9th, 
fifty gardeners with their families, and the seeds of every kind of vegetable ; 10th, 
onch party to bring with them 200,000 pints of brandy ; 11th, 30,000 ells of blue and 
scarlet cloth ; 12th, a supply of ^oap and oil. — Bourrienne. 



Establishment of a divan in each Egj-ptian province— Desaix in Upper 
Egypt — Ibrahim Bey beaten by Bonaparte at Salehye'h — Sulkowsky 
wounded — Disaster at Aboukix — Dissatisfaction and murmurs of the 
army — Dejection of the General-in-Chief — His plan respecting Egypt — 
Meditated descent upon England — Bonaparte's censure of the Di- 
rectory — Intercepted correspondence. 

From the details I have already given respecting Bona- 
parte's plans for colonising Egypt, it will be seen that liis 
energy of mind urged liim to adopt anticipatory measures 
for the accomplishment of objects which were never real- 
ised. During the short interval in which he sheathed his 
sword he planned provisional governments for the towns 
and provinces occupied by the French troops, and he 
adroitly contrived to serve the interests of his army with- 
out appearing to violate those of the country; After he 
had been four days at Cairo, during which time he em- 
ployed himself in examining everything, and consulting 
every individual from whom he could obtain useful in- 
formation, he published the following order : — 

Headqfaeters, Caibo, 

9rA Thermidor, year VI. 

Bonaparte, Member of the National Institute, and 
General,-in-Cuief, orders: 

Art. 1. There shall be in each province of Egypt a divan, com- 
posed of seven individuals, whose duty will be to superintend the 
interests of the province ; to communicate to me any complaints 
that may be made ; to prevent warfare among the different vil- 
lages ; to apprehend and punish criminals (for which purpose they 


may demand assistance from the French commandant) ; and to take 
every opportunity of enlightening the people. 

Art. 2. There shall be in each province an aga of the Janizaries, 
maintaining constant communication with the French commandant. 
He shall have with him a company of sixty armed natives, whom 
he may take wherever he pleases, for the maintenance of good 
order, subordination, and tranquillity. 

Art. 3. There shall be in each province an intendant, whose busi- 
ness will be to levy the miri, the feddam, and the other contribu- 
tions which formerly belonged to the Mamelukes, but which now 
belong to the French Republic. The intendants shall have as many 
agents as may be necessary. 

Art. 4. The said intendant shall have a French agent to correspond 
with the Finance Department, and to execute all the orders he may 
receive. (Signed) Bonaparte. 

While Bonaparte was thus actively taking measures for 
the organisation of the country,' General Desaix had 
marched into Upper Egypt in pursuit of Mourad Bey. We 
learned that Ibrahim, who, next to Mourad, was the most 
influential of the beys, had proceeded towards Syria, by 
the way of Belbeis and Salehye'h. The General-in-Chief 
immediately determined to march in person against that 
formidable enemy, and he left Cairo about fifteen days 
after he had entered it. It is unnecessary to describe the 
well-known engagement in which Bonaparte drove Ibra- 
him back upon El-Arish ; besides, I do not enter minutely 
into the details of battles, my chief object being to record 
events which I personally witnessed. 

At the battle of Salehye'h Bonaparte thought he had 
lost one of his aides de camp, Sulkowsky, to whom he was 
much attached, and who had been with us during the 
whole of the campaign of Italy. On the field of battle one 
object of regret cannot long engross the mind ; yet, on his 
return to Cairo, Bonaparte frequently spoke to me of Sul- 
kowsky in terms of unfeigned sorrow. 

" I caniDot, " said ho one day, " sufficiently admire the 

' Fnr more thoroughly nnd ucUvcly tlmn those tukcn by Iho Eut;llnh Oovcriuueut 
to lb82-y-l ! 

Vol. I.— 11 


noble spirit and determined courage of poor Sulkowsk3\" 
He often said that SulkoAvsky would have been a valuable 
aid to whoever might undertake the resuscitation of Po- 
land. Fortunately that brave officer was not killed on that 
occasion, though seriously wounded. He was, however, 
killed shortly after. 

The destruction of the French squadron in the roads of 
Aboukir occurred during the absence of the General-in- 
Chief. This event happened on the 1st of August. The 
details are generally known ; but there is one circumstance 
to which I cannot refrain from alluding, and which excited 
deep interest at the time. This was the heroic courage of 
the son of Casablanca, the captain of the Orient. Casa- 
blanca was among the wounded, and when the vessel was 
blown up his son, a lad of ten years of age, preferred 
perishing with him rather than saving himself, when one 
of the seamen had secured him the means of escape. I 
told the aide de camp, sent by General Kleber, w^ho had 
the command of Alexandria, that the General-in-Chief was 
near Salehye'h. He proceeded thither immediately, and 
Bonaparte hastened ^back to Cairo, a distance of about 
thirty-three leagues. 

In spite of any assertions that may have been made to 
the contrary, the fact is, that as soon as the French troops 
set foot in Egypt, they were filled with dissatisfaction, and 
ardently longed to return home.' The illusion of the 

1 Erreurs objects to this description of the complaints of the army, but Savary 
(tome i. pp. 56, 57, and tome i. p. 69) fully confirms it, giving the reason that the 
army was not a homogeneouB body, but a mixed force taken from Rome, Florence, 
Milan, Venice, Genoa, and Marseilles ; see also Thiers, tome v. p. :2S3. But the fact 
is not singular. For a striking instance, in the days of the Empire, of the soldiers in 
1809, in Spain, actually threatening Napoleon in his own hearing, see De Gonneville 
(tome i. pp. 190-193) : " The soldiers of Lapisse's division gave loud expression to the 
most sinister designs against the Emperor's person, stirring up e.'ich other to fire a 
shot ai him, and bandying accusations of cowardice for not doing it. He heard it 
all as plainly us we did, and Becmed as if he did not care a bit for it, but " sent the 
division into good quarters, when the men were as enthusiastic as they were formerly 
mutinous. In 179(5 d'Entraigues, the liourbon spy. reports, *' As a genera) rule, the 
French soldier grumbles and is discontented. He accuses Bonaparte of being a 
thief and a rascal. But to-morrow the very same soldier will obey him blindly* 
(lungb JiumxparU, tome iii. p. 152). 


expedition had disappeared, and only its reality remained. 
What bitter murmuring have I not heard from Murat, 
Lannes, Berthier, Bessières, and others ! Their complaints 
were, indeed, often so unmeasured as almost to amount to 
sedition. This greatly vexed Bonaparte, and drew from 
him severe reproaches and violent language.^ When the 
news arrived of the loss of the fleet, discontent increased. 
All who had acquired fortunes under Napoleon now began 
to fear that they would never enjoy them. All turned 
their thoughts to Paris, and its amusements, and were 
utterly disheartened at the idea of being separated from 
their homes and their friends for a period, the termination 
of which it was impossible to foresee. 

The catastrophe of Aboukir came like a thunderbolt 
upon the General-in-Chief. In spite of all his energy and 
fortitude, he was deeply distressed by the disasters which 
now assailed him. To the painful feelings excited by the 
complaints and dejection of his companions in arms was 
now added the irreparable misfortune of the burning of 
oar fleet. He measured the fatal consequences of this 
event at a single glance. We were now cut off from all 
communication with France, and all hope of returning 
thither, except by a degrading capitulation with an impla- 
cable and hated enemy. Bonaparte had lost all chance of 
preserving his conquest, and to him this was indeed a 
bitter reflection. And at what a time did this disaster 
befall him ? At the very moment when he was about to 
apply for the aid of the mother-country. 

From what General Bonaparte communicated to me 
previously to the 1st of August, his object was, having once 
secured the possession of Egypt, to return to Toulon with 
the fleet ; then to send troops and provisions of every 

' Nftpolfion related at St. Holonii that in a fit of irritation ho ruHhed among a 
«roui) of diKHutihrtcd frinonilK, and Haid t(i one cjf thrni, who wan reinarkabii* for bis 
Btfttiire, " You have held wditions lan(;imi;o ; liiil taki" nut' I do not porfonn my 
duty. Though you uru tivu fuet tuii inchuu high, thuL uhuU nut aavu you from buiag 
■hot." — lioumtniie. 


kind to Egypt ; and next to combine with the fleet all the 
forces that could be supplied, not only by France, but by 
her allies, for the purpose of attacking England. It is 
certain that previously to his departure for Egypt he had 
laid before the Directory a note relative to his plans. He 
always regarded a descent upon England as possible, 
though in its result fatal, so long as we should be inferior 
in naval strength ; but he hoped by various manœu\Tes to 
secure a superiority on one point. 

His intention was to return to France. Availing him- 
self of the departure of the English fleet for the Mediter- 
ranean, the alarm excited by his Egyptian expedition, the 
panic that would be inspired by his sudden appearance at 
Boulogne, and his preparations against England, he hoped 
to oblige that power to withdraw her naval force from the 
Mediterranean, and to prevent her sending out troops to 
Egypt. This project was often in his head. He would 
have thought it sublime to date an order of the day from 
the ruins of Memphis, and three months later, one from 
London. The loss of the fleet converted all these bold 
conceptions into mere romantic visions. 

When alone with me he gave free vent to his emotion. 
I observed to him that the disaster was doubtless great, 
but that it would have been infinitely more irreparable 
had Nelson fallen in with us at Malta, or had he waited 
for us four-and-twenty hours before Alexandria, or in the 
open sea. "Any one of these events," said I, "which 
were not only possible but probable, would have dej^rived 
us of eveiy resource. We are blockaded here, but we 
have provisions and money. Let us then wait patiently 
to see what the Directory will do for us." — " The Direc- 
tory ! " exclaimed he angrily, " the Directory is composed 
of a set of scoundrels ! they envy and hate me, and would 
gladly let me perish here. Besides, you see how dissatis- 
fied the whole army is : not a man is willing to stay." 

The pleasing illusions which were cherished at the out- 


set of the expedition vanished long before our arrival in 
Cairo. Egypt was no longer the empire of the Ptolemies, 
covered with populous and wealthy cities ; it now pre- 
sented one unvaried scene of devastation and misery. 
Instead of being aided by the inhabitants, whom we had 
ruined, for the sake of delivering them from the yoke of 
the beys, we found all against us : Mamelukes, Arabs, and 
fellahs. No Frenchman was secure of his life who hap- 
pened to stray half a mile from any inhabited place, or 
the corps to which he belonged. The hostility which 
prevailed against us and the discontent of the army were 
clearly developed in the numerous letters which were 
written to France at the time, and intercepted. 

The gloomy reflections which at first assailed Bona- 
parte, were speedily banished ; and he soon recovered the 
fortitude and presence of mind which had been for a 
moment shaken by the overwhelming news from Aboukir. 
He, however, sometimes repeated, in a tone which it would 
be difficult to describe, " Unfortunate Brueys, what have 
you done ! " 

I have remarked that in some chance observations which 
escaped Napoleon at St. Heleua he endeavoured to throw 
all the blame of the affair on Admiral Brue^'S. Persons 
who are determined to make Bonaparte an exception to 
human nature have unjustly reproached the Admiral for 
the loss of the fleet. 

166 1798. 



The Egyptian Institute — Festival of the birth of Mahomet — Bonaparte's 
prudent respect for the Mahometan religion — His Turkish dress — 
Djezzar, the Pasha of Acre — Thoughts of a campaign in Germany — 
Want of news from France — Bonaparte and Madame Fourôs — The 
Egyptian fortune-teller, M. Berthollet, and the Sheik El Bekri— The 
air " Marlbrook" — Insurrection in Cairo — Death of General Dupuis 
— Death of Sulkowsky — The insurrection quelled — Nocturnal execu- 
tions — Destruction of a tribe of Arabs — Convoy of sick and 
wounded — Massacre of the French in Sicily — Projected expedition 
to Syria — Letter to Tippoo Saib. 

The loss of the fleet convinced General Bonaparte of the 
necessity of speedily and effectively organising Egypt, 
where everything denoted that we should stay for a con- 
siderable time, except in the event of a forced evacuation, 
which the General was far from foreseeing or fearing. 
The distance of Ibrahim Bey and Mourad Bey now left 
him a little at rest. AVar, fortifications, taxation, govern- 
ment, the organisation of the divans, trade, art, and 
science, all occupied his attention. Orders and instruc- 
tions were immediately despatched, if not to rejDair the 
defeat, at least to avert the first danger that might ensue 
from it. On the 21st of August Bonaparte established at 
Cairo an institute of the arts aud sciences, of which he 
subsequently appointed me a member in the room of M. 
de Sucy, who was obliged to return to France, in conse- 
quence of the wound he received on board the flotilla in 
the Nile.' 

1 The Institute of Egypt was romposcd of membcrB of the French Institute, and 
of the men of science and artists of the comuussion who did not belong to that 


In founding this Institute, Bonaparte wished to afford an 
example of his ideas of civilisation. The minutes of the 
sittings of that learned body, which have been printed, 
bear evidence of its utility, and of Napoleon's extended 
views. The objects of the Institute were the advancement 
and propagation of information in Egypt, and the study 
and publication of all facts relating to the natural history, 
trade, and antiquities of that ancient country. 

On the 18th Bonaparte was present at the ceremony of 
opening the dyke of the canal of Cairo, which receives the 
water of the Nile when it reaches the height fixed by the 

Two days after came the anniversary festival of the 
birth of Mahomet. At this Napoleon was also pres- 
ent, in company with the sheik El Bskri,' who at his 

body. They aRsembled and added to their number several officers of the artillery 
and staff, and others who had cultivated the sciences and literature. 

The Institute was established in one of the palaces of the beys. A great number 
of machines, and physical, chemical, and astronomical instruments had been 
brought from France. They were distributed in the different rooms, which were also 
successively filled with all the curiosities of the country, whether of the animal, 
vegetable, or mineral kingdom. 

The garden of the palace became a botanical garden. A chemical laboratory was 
formed at headquarters ; Berthollet performed experiments there several times 
every week, at which Napoleon and a great number of officers attended {Memoirs 
of Napoleon). 

' The General-in-Chief went to celebrate the feast of the Prophet at the house of 
the sheik El Bekri. The ceremony was begun by the recital of a kind of litany, 
conUiining the life of Mahomet from his birth to his death. About a hundred 
sheik», sitting in a circle, on carpets, with their legs crossed, recited all the verses, 
swinging their bodies violently backwards and forwards, and altogether. 

A grand dinner wa» afterwards served up, at which the guests sat on carpets, with 
their legs across. There wc^re twenty tables, and five or six people at each table. 
That of the Genoral-in-Ohief and the sheik El Bekri was in the middle ; a little 
slab of a precious kind of wood omainented with mosaic work whs placed eighteen 
inches above the floor and covered with a great niimber of dishes in succession. 
They were pillaws of rice, a particular kind of roast, enfréen, and pastry, all very 
highly spicid. The sheiks picked everything with their tinners. Accordingly 
water was brought to wawh the haiiils thren times during dinner. (îocrneberry-water, 
lemonade, and other Kf>rtM of shcrlxts wen; served to drink, iind abundance of pr»>- 
servcH an'l confe<tionery with tho dessert. On the whole, the dinner was not di»- 
agrocable ; It was only the manner, of eating it that seomed strange to us. 

In tho evening the whole city was ilhuninated, AfU-r dinner the party went into 
the square of VA Hekri, the Illumination of whhrh, in coloured lamps, was very beau- 
tiful. An immense concourse of peoi)ln altendeil. Th«iy wur« all placed In ordor, 


request gave liim t^yo young Mamelukes, Ibrahim, and 

It has been alleged that Bonaparte, when in Egypt, 
took part in the religious ceremonies and worship of the 
Mussulmans ; but it cannot be said that he celebrated the 
festivals of the overflowing of the Nile and the anniversary 
of the Prophet. The Turks invited him to these merely 
as a spectator ; and the presence of their new master was 
gratifying to the peoj^le. But he never committed the 
folly of ordering any solemnity. He neither learned nor 
repeated any prayer of the Koran, as many persons have 
asserted ; neither did he advocate fatalism, polygamy, or 
any other doctrine of the Koran. Bonaparte employed 
himself better than in discussing with the Imaums the 
theology of the children of Ismael. The ceremonies, at 
which policy induced him to be present, were to him, and 
to all who accompanied him, mere matters of curiosit3\ 
He never set foot in a mosque ; and only on one oc- 
casion, which I shall hereafter mention, dressed himself in 
the Mahometan costume. He attended the festivals to 
which the green turbans invited him.'^ His religious 
tolerance was the natural consequence of his philosoi^hic 

in ranks of from twenty to a hundred persons, who, standing close together, recited 
the prayers and litanies of the Prophet with movements which kept increasinp, 
until at length they seemed to be convulsive, and some of the most zealous fainted 
away {Memoirs of Xapoleon). 

• Roustan or Rustan, a Mameluke, was always with Napoleon from the time 
of the return from Egypt till 1814, when he abandoned his master. He slept at or 
near the door of Napoleon. See liémusat, tome i. p. 209, for an amusing descrip- 
tion of the alarm of Josephine, and the precipitate flight of Madame de Rémusat, 
at the idea of being met and killed by this man in one of Josephine's nocturnal 
attacks on the privacy of her husband when closeted with his mistress. 

■■^ From this Sir Walter Scott infers that he did not scruple to join the Mussul- 
mans in the external ceremonies of their religion. He embellishes his romance 
with the ridiculous farce of the sepulchral chamber of the grand pj'ramid, and the 
epeechee which were addressed to the General as well as to the muftis and Imaums ; 
and he adds that Bonaparte was on the point of embracing Islamism. All that 
Sir Walter aays on this subject ii? the height of absurdity, and does not even deserve 
to be seriously n-futed. Bonaj)arte never entered a moscjue except from motives of 
curiosity, and he never for one moment afforded any ground for supposing that he 
believed in the mission of Jlaàomet.—JSouirieniie, 


Doubtless Bonaparte did, as he was bound to do, show 
respect for the religion of the country ; and he found it 
necessary to act more like a Mussulman than a Catholic. 
A wise conqueror supports his triumphs by protecting 
and even elevating the religion of the conquered people. 
Bonaparte's principle was, as he himself has often told 
me, to look upon religions as the work of men, but to re- 
spect them everywhere as a powerful engine of govern- 
ment. However, I will not go so far as to say that he 
would not have changed his religion had the conquest of 
the East been the price of that change. All that he said 
about Mahomet, Islamism, and the Koran to the great 
men of the country he laughed at himself. He enjoyed 
the gratification of having all his fine sayings on the 
subject of religion translated into Arabic poetry, and re- 
peated from mouth to mouth. This of course tended to 
conciliate the people. 

I confess that Bonaparte frequently conversed with the 
chiefs of the Mussulman religion on the subject of his 
conversion ; but only for the sake of amusement. The 
priests of the Koran, who would probably have been de- 
lighted to convert us, offered us the most ample conces- 
sions. But these conversations were merely started by 
way of entertainment, and never could have warranted a 
supposition of their leading to any serious result. If 
Bonaparte spoke as a Mussulman, it was merely in his 
character of a military and political chief in a Mussulman 
country. To do so was essential to his success, to the 
safety of his army, and, consequently, to his glory. In 
every country ho would have drawn up proclamations and 
delivered addresses on the same principle. In India he 
would have been for Ali, at Thibet for the Dalai-lama, and 
in China for Confucius.' 

• Oil tho pubject of hin allejfcd conviTsion to Miihometauisiu Donaparte expreuml 
hlmwilf lit Ht. Hclunn aH followH : — 

" I never followed any of thu tfiielH of thiit. religion. I never prayed in tho 
luutK^uos. I uevur aLmlaiuuU Iruin wino, or wuii circumuibcd, uoitber did I evor 


The General-in-Chief had a Turkish dress made, which 
he once put on, merely in joke. One day he desired me 
to go to breakfast without waiting for him, and that he 
would follow me. In about a quarter of an hour he made 
his appearance in his new costume. As soon as he was 
recognised he was received with a loud burst of laughter. 
He sat down very coolly ; but he found himself so en- 
cumbered and ill at ease in his turban and Oriental robe 
that he speedily threw them ofi, and was never tempted to 
a second performance of the masquerade. 

About the end of August Bonaparte wished to open ne- 
gotiations with the Pasha of xVcre, nicknamed the Butcher. 
He offered Djezzar his friendship, sought his in return, 
and gave him the most consolatory assurances of the safety 
of his dominions. He promised to support him against 
the Grand Seignior, at the very moment when lie was as- 
suring the Egyptians that he would support the Grand 
Seignior against the beys. But Djezzar, confiding in his 

profess it. I said merely that we were the friends of the Mussulmans, and that I 
respected Mahomet their prophet, which was true ; I respect him now. I wanted 
to make the Imaums cause prayers to be offered up in the mosques for me, in order 
to make the people respect me still more than they actually did, and obey me more 
readily. The Itiiaums replied that there was a great obstacle, because their Prophet 
in the Koran had inculcated to them that they were not to obey, respect, or hold 
faith with infidels, and that I came under that denomination. I then desired them 
to hold a consultation, and see what was necessary to be done in order to become a 
Mussulman, as some of their tenets could not be practised by us. That, as to cir- 
cumcision, God had made us unfit for that. That, with resi)ect to drinking wine, 
we were poor cold people, inhabitants of the Tiorth, who c>)uld not exist without it. 
They consulted together accordingly, and in about three weeks issued a fotham, de- 
claring that circumcision might be omitted, because it was merely a profession ; that 
as to drinking wine, it might be drunk by Mn.ssulmans, but that those who drank it 
would not go to paradise, but to hell. I replied that this would not do ; that we 
had no occasion to make ourselves Mussulmans in order to go to hell, that there 
were many ways of getting there without coming to Egypt, and desired them to 
hold another consultation. After deliberating and battling' together for I believe 
three months, they finally decided that a man might become a Mussulman, and 
neither circumcise nor abstain from wine ; but that, in proportion to the wine drunk, 
some good works must be done. I then told them that we were all Mu.ssulmans and 
friends of the Prophet, which they really believed, as the French soldiers never 
went to church, and had no i)rie8ts with them. For you must know that during th» 
Revolution there was no religion whatever in the French army. Menou," continue^ 
Napoleon, '• really turned Mahometan, which was the reason 1 left him behind."-* 
Voice from St. Helena. 


own strength and in the protection of the English, who 
had anticipated Bonaparte, was deaf to every overture, 
and would not even receive Beauvoisin, who was sent to 
him on the 22d of August. A second envoy was beheaded 
at Acre. The occupations of Bonaparte and the necessity 
of obtaining a more solid footing in Egypt retarded for 
the moment the invasion of that pashalic, which provoked 
vengeance by its barbarities, besides being a dangerous 

From the time he received the accounts of the disaster 
of Aboukir until the revolt of Cairo on the 22d of Octo- 
ber, Bonaparte sometimes found the time hang heavily on 
his hands. Though he devoted attention to everything, 
yet there was not sufficient occupation for his singularly 
active mind. When the heat was not too great he rode on 
horseback ; and on his return, if he found no despatches 
to read (which often happened), no orders to send off, or 
no letters to answer, he was immediately absorbed in 
reverie, and would sometimes converse very strangely. 
One day, after a long pause, he said to me — 

''Do you know what I am thinking of? "— '' Upon my 
word-, that would be very difficult ; you think of such ex- 
traordinary things." — " I don't know," continued he, "that 
I shall ever see France again ; but if I do, my only ambi- 
tion is to make a glorious campaign in Germany — in the 
plains of Bavaria ; there to gain a great battle, and to 
avenge France for the defeat of Hochstadt. After that I 
would retire into the country, and live quietl3\" 

He then entered upon a long dissertation on the prefer- 
ence he would give to Germany as the theatre of war ; ' 

' So (îarly jih \TM Napoloon had Hti^'^'CHt^d that AiiKtria should nlwnyH bo nttnckod 
In Oermrxiiy, not in kiily. •• It Ih (W-nnuiiy that should boovcrwhi-luiod ; that dono, 
lUly and Hpaiti fall of th(!iUH...lvoH. . . . (li-rniany should bo attacked, not Spaiti 
or Italy. If wo obtain Kreiit huccosk. udvanta^'o should nov.jr bo ukcn of it to pon.>- 
trato into Italy while (Jormany, unwoakonod, ofTerH a forniidablo front" (IunK''H 
lionaparU, U,uw ii. p. AW)). Ho was always opposo<i to tho wild plans which had 
ruinod HO many Fn-nch armies in Italy, an.l which tlio Uiroctory trio.l to foroo ou 
him, of marching ou Uomc aud Naplot» after every whcccbm iu tho uortU. 


the fine character of the people, and the prosperity an(3 
wealth of the countrj^ and its power of supporting an 
army. His conversations were sometimes very long ; but 
always replete with interest. 

In these intervals of leisure Bonaparte was accustomed 
to retire to bed early. I used to read to him every even- 
ing. When I read poetry he would fall asleep ; but when 
he asked for the Life of Cromwell I counted on sitting up 
pretty late. In the course of the day he used to read and 
make notes. He often expressed regret at not receiving 
news from France ; for correspondence was rendered im- 
practicable by the numerous English and Turkish cruisers. 
Many letters were intercepted and scandalously published. 
Not even family secrets and communications of the most 
confidential nature were respected. 

About the middle of September in this year (1798), 
Bonaparte ordered to be brought to the house of Elfy Bey 
half a dozen Asiatic women whose beauty he had heard 
highly extolled. But their ungraceful obesity displeased 
him, and they were immediately dismissed. A few days 
after he fell violently in love with Madame Foures, the 
wife of a lieutenant of infantry.' She was very pretty, and 
her charms were enhanced by the rarity of seeing a wom- 
an in Egypt who was calculated to please the eye of a 
European. Bonaparte engaged for her a house adjoining 
the palace of Elfy Bey, which we occupied. He fre- 
quently ordered dinner to be prepared there, and I used 
to go there with him at seven o'clock, and leave him at 

This connection soon became the general subject of gos- 
sip at headquarters. Through a feeling of delicacy to M. 
Fourt'S, the General-in-Chief gave him a mission to the 
Directory. He embarked at Alexandria, and the ship was 
captured by the English, who, being informed of the cause 

» See Memoim of the Duchesse d'Abrantcs {Madame Jimot), Euglish edition of 
1883, vol. i. p. 458. 


of his mission, were nicalicious enough to send him back 
to Egypt, instead of keeping him prisoner. Bonaparte 
wished to have a child by Madame Fourés, but this wish 
was not realised. 

A celebrated soothsayer was recommended to Bonaparte 
by the inhabitants of Cairo, who confidentially vouched 
for the accuracy with which he could foretell future events. 
He was sent for, and when he arrived, I, Venture, and a 
sheik were with the General. The prophet wished first to 
exercise his skill upon Bonaparte, who, however, proposed 
that I should have my fortune told first, to which I ac- 
ceded without hesitation. To afford an idea of his pro- 
phetic skill I must mention that since my arrival in Cairo 
I had been in a very weak state. The passage of the Nile 
and the bad food we had had for twelve days had greatly 
reduced me, so that I was miserably pale and thin. 

After examining my hands, feeling my pulse, my fore- 
head, and the nape of my neck, the fortune-teller shrugged 
his shoulders, and, in a melancholy tone, told Venture that 
he did not think it right to inform me of my fate. I gave 
him to understand that he might say what he pleased, as 
it was a matter of indifference to me. After considerable 
hesitation on his part and pressing on mine, he announced 
to me that the earth of Egyi)t would receive me in two 

I thanked him, and he was dismissed. When we were 
alone the General said to me, "Well, what do you think 
of that? " I observed that the fortune-teller did not run 
any great risk in foretelling my death, which was a very 
probable circumstance in the state in which I was ; "but," 
added I, " if I procure the wines which I have ordered 
jErom France, you will soon see me get round agaiu." 

The art of imposing on mankind has at all times been 
an important part of tlie art of governing ; and it was not 
that portion of the science of government which Bona- 
parte was the least acquainted with. He neglected no 


oppoi-tiinity of showing off to the Egyptians the superiority 
of France in arts and sciences ; but it happened, oftener 
than once, that the simple instinct of the Egyptians 
thwarted his endeavours in this way. Some days after the 
visit of the pretended fortune-teller he wished, if I may so 
express myself, to oppose conjurer to conjurer. For this 
pui'pose he invited the principal sheiks to be present at 
some chemical experiments performed by ^I. Berthollet. 
The General expected to be much amused at their as- 
tonishment ; but the miracles of the transformation of liq- 
uids, electrical commotions and galvanism, did not eUcit 
from them any symptom of surj^rise. They witnessed the 
operations of our able chemist with the most imperturb- 
able indifference. When they were ended, the sheik El 
Bekri desired the interpreter to tell M. Berthollet that it 
was all very fine ; "but," said he, *'ask him whether he 
can make me be in Morocco and here at one and the 
same moment?" M. Berthollet replied in the negative, 
with a shrug of his shoulders. '' Oh ! then," said the 
sheik, "he is not half a sorcerer." 

Our music produced no greater effect upon them. They 
listened with insensibility to all the aii'S that were played 
to them, with the exception of " Marlbrook." When that 
was played they became animated, and were all in motion, 
as if ready to dance. 

An order which had been issued on our arrival in Cairo 
for watching the criers of the mosques had for some weeks 
been neglected. At certain hours of the night these criers 
address prayers to the Prophet. As it was merely a repeti- 
tion of the same ceremony over and over again, in a short 
time no notice was taken of it. The Turks, perceiving 
this negligence, substituted for their prayers and hymns 
cries of revolt, and by this sort of verbal telegraph, insur- 
rectionary excitement was transmitted to the northern 
and southern extremities of Egypt. By this means, and 
by the aid of secret emissaries, who eluded our feeble 


police, and circulated real or forged firmans of the Sultan 
disavowing the concord between France and the Porte, 
and provoking war, the plan of a revolution was organised 
throughout the country. 

The signal for the execution of this plan was given from 
the minarets on the night of the 20th of October, and on 
the morning of the 21st it was announced at headquai'ters 
that the city of Cairo was in open insurrection. The 
General-in-Chief was not, as has been stated, in the isle of 
Raouddah : he did not hear the firing of the alarm-guns. 
He rose when the news arrived ; it was then five o'clock 
He was informed that all the shops were closed, and that 
the French were attacked. A moment after he heard of 
the death of General Dupuis, commandant of the garrison, 
who was killed by a lance in the street. Bonaparte im- 
mediately mounted his horse, and, accompanied by only 
thirty guides, visited all the threatened points, restored 
confidence, and, with great presence of mind adopted 
measures of defence. 

He left me at headquarters with only one sentinel ; but 
he had been accurately informed of the situation of the 
insurgents ; and such was my confidence in his activity 
and foresight that I had no apprehension, and awaited his 
return with perfect composure. This composure was not 
disturbed even when I saw a party of insurgents attack 
the house of M. Estève, our paymaster-general, which was 
situated on the opposite side of Ezbekye'h Place. M. 
Estève was, fortunately, able to resist the attack until 
troops from Boulac came up to his assistance. 

After visiting all the posts, and adoj^ting every precau- 
tionary measure, Bonaparte returned to headquarters. 
Finding me still alone with the sentinel, he asked me, 
smiling, "whether I had not been frightened?" — ''Notât 
all, General, I assure you," replied I. 

It was about half-past eight in the morning when Bona- 
parte returucd to headquarters, and while at breakfast he 


was informed that some Bedouin Arabs, on horseback, 
were trvvng to force their entrance into Cairo. He 
ordered his aide de camp, Sulkowsky, to mount his horse, 
to take with him fifteen guides, and proceed to the point 
where the assailants were most numerous. This was the 
Bab-el-Nasser, or the gate of victory. Croisier observed 
to the General-in-Chief that Sulkowsky had scarcely re- 
covered from the wounds at Salehye'h, and he offered to 
take his place. He had his motives for this. Bonaparte 
consented ; but Sulkowsky had already set out. "Within 
an hour after, one of the fifteen guides returned, covered 
with blood, to announce that Sulkowsky and the remainder 
of his party had been cut to pieces. This was speedy 
work, for we were still at table when the sad news 

Mortars were planted on Mount Mokatam, which com- 
mands Cairo. The populace, expelled from all the princi- 
pal streets by the troops, assembled in the square of the 
Great Mosque, and in the little streets running into it, 
which they barricaded. The firing of the artillery on the 
heights was kept up with vigour for two days. 

About twelve of the principal chiefs of Cairo were 
arrested and confined in an apartment at headquarters. 
They awaited with the calmest resignation the death they 
knew they merited ; but Bonaparte merely detained them 
as hostages. The aga in the service of Bonaparte was 
astonished that sentence of death was not pronounced 
upon them ; and he said, shrugging his shoulders, and 
with a gesture apparently intended to provoke severity, 
"You see they expect it." 

On the third the insurrection was at an end, and tran- 
quillity restored. Numerous prisoners were conducted to 
the citadel. In obedience to an order which I wrote every 
evening, twelve were put to death nightly. The bodies 
were then put into sacks and thrown into the Nile. There 
were many women included in these nocturnal executions. 


I am not aware that the number of victims amounted to 
thirty per day, as Bonaparte assured General Reynier in a 
letter which he wrote to him six days after the restoration 
of tranquillity. " Every night," said he, " we cut off thirty 
heads. This, I hope, will be an effectual example." I am 
of opinion that in this instance he exaggerated the extent 
of his just revenge. 

Some time after the revolt of Cairo the necessity of 
ensuring our own safety forced the commission of a terrible 
act of cruelty. A tribe of Arabs in the neighbourhood of 
Cairo had surprised and massacred a party of French. 
The General-in-Chief ordered his aide de camp Croisier to 
proceed to the spot, surround the tribe, destroy the huts, 
kill all the men, and conduct the rest of the population to 
Cairo. The order was to decapitate the victims, and bring 
their heads in sacks to Cairo to be exhibited to the people. 
Eugène Beauharnais accompanied Croisier, who joyfully 
set out on this horrible expedition, in hope of obliterating 
all recollection of the affiir of Damanhour. 

On the following day the party returned. Many of the 
poor Arab women had been delivered on the road, and the 
children had perished of hunger, heat, and fatigue. About 
four o'clock a troop of asses arrived in Ezbekye'h Place, 
laden with sacks. The sacks were opened and the heads 
rolled out before the assembled populace. I cannot de- 
scribe the horror I experienced ; but I must nevertheless 
acknowledge that tliis butchery ensured for a considerable 
time tlie tranquillity and even tlie existence of the little 
caravans which were obliged to travel in all directions for 
the service of the army. 

Shortly before the loss of the fleet the General-in-Chief 
had formed the design of visiting Suez, to examine the 
traces of the ancient canal which united the Nile to the 
Gulf of Arabia, and also to cross the latter. The revolt 
at Cairo caused this project to bo adjourned until the 
month of December. 
Vol. I.— 13 


Before his departure for Suez Bonaparte granted the 
commissary Sucy leave to return to France.' He had 
received a wound in the right hand when on board the 
xebec Cerf. I was conversing with him on deck when he 
received this wound. At first it had no appearance of 
being serious ; but some time after he could not use his 
hand. General Bonaparte despatched a vessel with sick 
and wounded, who were supposed to be incurable, to the 
number of about eighty. All envied their fate, and were 
anxious to depart with them, but the privilege was con- 
ceded to very few. However, those who were disappointed 
had no cause for regret. We never know what we wish 
for. Captain Marengo, who landed at Augusta in Sicily, 
supposing it to be a friendly land, was required to obseiTe 
quarantine for twenty-two days, and information was given 
of the arrival of the vessel to the court, which was at 
Palermo. On the 25tli of January 1799 all on board the 
French vessel were massacred, with the exception of 
twenty-one who were saved by a Neapolitan frigate, and 
conducted to Messina, where they were detained. 

Before he conceived the resolution of attacking the 
Turkish advanced guard in the valleys of Syria, Bonaparte 
had formed a plan of invading British India from Persia. 
He had ascertained, through the medium of agents, that 
the Shah of Persia would, for a sum of money paid in 
advance, consent to the establishment of military maga- 
zines on certain points of his territory. Bonaparte fre- 
quently told me that if, after the subjugation of Egypt, he 
could have left 15,000 men in that country, and have had 
30,000 disposable troops, he would have marched on the 
Eui^hrates. He was frequently speaking about the deserts 
which were to be crossed to reach Persia. 

How many times have I seen him extended on the 
ground, examining the beautiful maps which he had 

' En'enrs (tome i. p. 67) 8a5s that the expedition to Suez started in Nivôse 
(December and January), and tbat Sucy had gone home throe aaoutha before. 


brought with him, and he would sometimes make me lie 
down in the same position to trace to me his projected 
march. This reminded him of the triumphs of his favourite 
hero, Alexander, with whom he so much desired to asso- 
ciate his name ; but, at the same time, he felt that these 
projects were incompatible with our resources, the weak- 
ness of the Government, and the dissatisfaction which the 
army already evinced. Privation and misery are insepar- 
able from all these remote operations. 

This favourite idea still occupied his mind a fortnight 
before his departure for Syria was determined on, and on 
the 25th of January 1799 he wrote to Tippoo Saib as 
follows : — 

You are of course already informed of my arrival on the banks 
of the Red Sea, with a numerous and invincible army. Eager to 
deliver you from the iron yoke of England, I hasten to request that 
you will send me, by the way of Mascate or Mocha, an account of 
the political situation in which you are. I also wish that you could 
send to Suez, or Grand Cairo, some able man, in your confidence, 
with whom I may confer,' 

' It is not true, as has often been stated, that Tippoo Saib wrote to General 
Bonanarte. He could not reply to a letter written on the 25th of January, owing to 
the great difflculty of communication, the couRidcrable distance, and the short inter- 
val which elapsed between the 25th of January and the fall of the empire of Mysore, 
which happened on the 20th of April following. The letter addressed to Tippoo 
8aib commenced " Citiz«a-Sultau I " — Bourriemie, 

180 1798, 



Bonaparte's departure for Suez — Crossing the desert — Passage of the Red 
Sea — The fountain of Moses — The Cénobites of Mount Sinai — Danger 
in recrossing the Red Sea — Napoleon's return to Cairo — Money bor- 
rowed at Genoa — New designs upon Syria — Dissatisfaction of the 
Ottoman Porte — Plan for invading Asia — Gigantic schemes — General 
Berthier's permission to return to France — His romantic love and the 
adored portrait — He gives up his permission to return home — Louis 
Bonaparte leaves Egypt — The first Cashmere shawl in France — Inter- 
cepted correspondence — Departure for Syria — Fountains of Messou- 
diah — Bonaparte jealous — Discontent of the troops — El- Arish taken — 
Aspect of Syria — Ramleh — Jerusalem. 

On the 24tli of December we set out for Suez, where 
we arrived on the 26th. On the 25th we encamped in the 
desert some leagues before Ad-Geroth. The heat had been 
very great during the day ; but about eleven at night the 
cold became so severe as to be precisely in an inverse ratio 
to the temperature of the day. This desert, which is the 
route of the caravans from Suez, from Tor and the coun- 
tries situated on the north of Arabia, is strewed with the 
bones of the men and animals who, for ages past, have 
perished in crossing it. As there was no wood to be got, 
we collected a quantity of these bones for fuel. Monge 
himself was induced to sacrifice some of the curious skulls 
of animals which he had picked up on the way and de- 
posited in the berlin of the General-in-Chief. But no soon- 
er had we kindled our fires than an intolerable effluvium 
obliged us to raise our camp and advance farther on, for 
we could procure no water to extinguish the fires. 

On the 27th Bonaparte employed himself in inspecting 


the town and port of Suez, and in giving orders for some 
naval and military works. He feared — what indeed really 
occurred after his departure from Egypt — the aiTival of 
some English troops from the East Indies, which he had 
intended to invade. These regiments contributed to the 
loss of his conquest.' 

On the morning of the 28th we crossed the Red Sea 
dry-shod,^ to go to the Wells of Moses, which are nearly a 
myriametre from the eastern coast, and a little southeast 
of Suez. The Gulf of Ai-abia terminates at about 5,000 
metres north of that city. Near the port the Red Sea is 
not above 1,500 metres wide, and is always fordable at 
low water. The caravans from Tor and Mount Sinai' 
always pass at that part, either in going to or returning 
from Egypt. This shortens their journey nearly a myria- 
metre. At high tide the water rises five or six feet at 
Suez, and when the wind blows fresh it often rises to nine 
or ten feet. 

We spent a few hours seated by the largest of the 
springs called the Wells of Moses, situated on the eastern 
shore of the Gulf of Arabia. We made coffee with the 
water from these springs, which, however, gave it such a 
brackish taste that it was scarcely drinkable. 

Though the water of the eight little springs which form 
the Wells of Moses is not so salt as that of many wells 

> Sir David Baird, with a force of about 7C00 men sent from India, landed at Cos- 
ecir in July 1801. 

' From time immcmoriiil this ford has been called by the pooplo of the country 
ElMaliadyeh, the passape. — liourriciuic. 

3 I Hhnll Hay nothinif of the (Jenobites of Mount Sinai, as I had not the honour of 
Bpcinfî them. Neither did I kco the register containinR tho names of AH. Salah- 
Eddln, Ibnhirn or Abraham, on whieh BDnuparto in nnid to havo inncribed his 
namo. I percoivod at a dintatioe some hitfh hills which wero said to bo Mount Sinai. 
I conversed, through the medium of an iTiUu-proter, with somo Arabian chiefs of 
Tor and its neighbourhood. Tlioy had been Informi'd «)f our excursion to the Wells, 
and thut they mij,'ht then- tlmuk the Fieiieh (renerul for the i)roUM>tiou K'rauti'd to 
their caravauH iiiid their trade with Fttypt. On the I'.dh of Dt^eeinber, before his 
departure from Huw., Bouaparie hi^^ned a «>rt of safeguard, or exemption from 
duties, for the convent of Mount Sinai. This hud been granti'd out of respect to 
M()H<;8 and the Jwwish nation, and ais.» beeauae tho convent of Mount Sinai is a suut 
of Icurniiig and clviUhatiou amuUl tlie burburiam of the dciicrts.— Z^t»arri<j/in«. 


dug in other parts of the deserts, it is, nevertheless, 
exceedingly brackish, and does not allay thirst so well aa 
fresh water. 

Bonaparte returned to Suez that same night. It was 
very dark when we reached the sea-shore. The tide was 
coming up, and the water was pretty high. We deviated 
a little from the way we had taken in the morning ; we 
crossed a little too low down ; we were thrown into dis- 
order, but we did not lose ourselves in the marshes as has 
been stated. There were none. 

I have read somewhere, though I did not see the fact, 
nor did 1 hear it mentioned at the time, that the tide, 
which was coming up, would have been the grave of the 
General-in-Chief had not one of the guides saved him by 
carrying him on his shoulders. If any such danger had 
existed all who had not a similar means of escape must 
have perished. 

This is a fabrication. General Caffarelli was the only 
person who was really in danger, for his wooden leg pre- 
vented his sitting firmly on his horse in the water ; but 
some persons came to his assistance and supported him.' 

On his return to Cairo the General-in-Chief wished to 
discover the site of the canal which in ancient times 
formed a junction between the Red Sea and the Nile by 
Belbeis. M. Lepere, who w^as a member of the Egyptian 
Institute, and is now inspector-general of bridges and 
highways, executed on the spot a beautiful plan, which 
may confidently be consulted by those who wish to form 
an accurate idea of that ancient communication, and the 
level of the two seas.^ 

1 Bonaparte extricated himself as the others did from the real danger he and his 
escort had run. At St. Helena he said, "Profiting by the low tide, I crosRed the 
lied Sea dry-shod. On my return I \v!vs overtaken by the night, and went astray in 
the middle of the rising tide. I ran the greatest danger. I nearly perished in the 
same manner as Pharaoh did. This would certainly have furnished all the Christian 
preachers with a magnificent text against me." — HMtrrteiine. 

2 Since accurately ascerlaiuud during the progre.-ii of the works for the Sue» 

1799. ''PARTANT POUR LA STRIE.'* 183 

On his arrival at the capital Bonaparte again devoted 
all his thoughts to the afifairs of the army, which he had 
not attended to during his short absence. The revenues 
of Egj^pt were far from being sufficient to meet the mili- 
tary expenditure. To defray his own expenses Bonaparte 
raised several considerable loans in Genoa through the 
medium of M. James. The connection of James with the 
Bonaparte family takes its date from this period.* 

Since the month of August the attention of General 
Bonaparte had been constantly fixed on Syria. The period 
of the possible landing of an enemy in Egypt had now 
passed away, and could not return until the month of 
July in the following year. Bonaparte was fully convinced 
that that landing would take place, and he was not de- 
ceived. The Ottoman Porte had, indeed, been persuaded 
that the conquest of Egypt was not in her interest. She 
preferred enduring a rebel whom she hoped one day to 
subdue to supporting a power which, under the specious 
pretext of reducing her insurgent beys to obedience, de- 
prived her of one of her finest provinces, and threatened 
the rest of the empire. 

On his return to Cairo the General-in-Chief had no 
longer any doubt as to the course which the Porte in- 
tended to adopt. The numerous class of persons who be- 
lieved that the Ottoman Porte had consented to our oc- 
cupation of Egypt were suddenly undeceived. It was 
then asked how we could, without that consent, have at- 
tempted such an enterprise ? Nothiug, it was said, could 
justify the temerity of such an expedition, if it should 
produce a rupture between France, the Ottoman empire, 
and its allies. However, for the remainder of the year 
Bonaparte dreaded nothing except an expedition from 
Gaza and El-Arish, of which the troops of Djezzar had al- 

• JoHoph Bonaparte wiyH that the fothor» of NKpoIoon mul of M. Jaine» had long 
known one another, and that Napoleon had mot Jatnos at Autuu {ErreurB, tome U 
p. 245). 


ready taken possession. This occupation was justly re- 
garded as a decided act of hostility ; war was thus prac- 
tically declared. "We must adopt anticipatory meas- 
ures," thought Napoleon ; " we must destroy this advanced 
guard of the Ottoman empire, overthrow the ramparts of 
Jaffa and Acre, ravage the country, destroy all her re- 
sources, so as to render the passage of an army across the 
desert impracticable." Thus was planned the expedition 
against Syria. 

General Berthier, after re^Dcated entreaties, had ob- 
tained permission to return to France. The Courageuse 
frigate, which was to convey him home, was fitting out at 
Alexandria ; he had received his instructions, and was to 
leave Cairo on the 29th of January, ten days before Bona- 
parte's departure for Syria. Bonaparte was sorry to part 
with him ; but he could not endure to see an old friend, 
and one who had served him well in all his camj^aigns, 
dying before his eyes, the victim of nostalgia and roman- 
tic love. Besides, Berthier had been for some time past, 
anything but active in the discharge of his duties. His 
passion, which amounted almost to madness, impaired the 
feeble faculties with which nature had endowed him. 
Some writers have ranked him in the class of Sentimental 
lovers : be this as it may, the homage which Berthier ren- 
dered to the portrait of the object of his adoration more 
frequently excited our merriment than our sensibility. 

One day I went with an order from Bonaparte to the 
chief of his staff, whom I found on his knees before the 
portrait of Madame Visconti, which was hanging opposite 
the door. I touched him, to let him know I was there. 
He grumbled a little, but did not get angry. 

The moment was approaching when the two friends 
were to part, perhaps forever. Bonaparte was sincerely 
distressed at this separation, and the chief of his staff was 
informed of the fact. At a moment when it was supposed 
Berthier was on his way to Alexandria, he presented bim- 


self to the GeDeral-iu-Chief. *'You are, then, decidedly 
going to Asia? " said he. — "You know," replied the Gen- 
eral, " that all is ready, and I shall set out in a few days." 
— " Well, I will not leave you. I voluntarily renounce all 
idea of returning to France. I could not endure to for- 
sake you at a moment when you are going to encounter 
new dangers. Here are my instructions and my pass- 
port." Bonaparte, highly pleased with this resolution, 
embraced Berthier ; and the coolness which had been ex- 
cited by his request to return home was succeeded by a 
sincere reconciliation. 

Louis Bonaparte, who was suffering from the effects of 
the voyage, was still at Alexandria. The General-in-Chief, 
yielding to the pacific views of his younger brother, who 
was also beginning to evince some symptoms of nostalgia, 
consented to his return home. He could not, however, 
depart until the 11th of March 1799. I felt the absence 
of Louis very much. 

On his return to France Louis passed through Sens, 
where he dined with Madame de Bourrienne, to whom he 
presented a beautiful shawl, which General Berthier had 
given me. This, I believe, was the first Cashmere that 
had ever been seen in France. Louis was much surprised 
when Madame de Bourrienne showed him the Egj-ptian 
corresjiondence, which had been seized by the English 
and printed in London. He found in the collection some 
letters addressed to liimself, and there were others, he 
said, which were Hkely to disturb the peace of more than 
one family on the return of the army. 

On the 11th of Febuary 1799 we began our march for 
Syria, with about 12,000 men.' It has been erroneously 
stated that the army amounted to only GOOD : nearly that 
numbei* was lost in the course of the campaign. How- 
ever, at the very moment we were on our way to Syria, 

' Krreitrn (Ujtno i. p. fJD) |MjiiitH out thnt nil «ood hiKtoriiiiis have put the HtrciiRtU 
of the nriny of Syria ot frou» 10.000 to 12,000 mt'ii. Thiers (touio v. p, 440) eaya 
about 13,000, 


v^iih. 12,000 men, scarcely as macy being left in Egj-pt, 
the Directory published that, " according to the informa- 
tion which had been received," we had 60,000 infantry 
and 10,000 cavalry ; that the army had doubled its num- 
bers by battles ; and that since our arrival in Egypt, we 
had lost only 300 men. Is history to be written from 
such documents ? 

We arrived, about four o'clock in the afternoon, at Mes- 
soudiah, or, "the Fortunate Spot." Here we witnessed 
a kind of phenomenon, which was not a little agreeable 
to us. Messoudiah is a place situated on the coast of the 
Mediterranean, surrounded with little dunes of very fine 
sand, which the copious rains of winter readily penetrate. 
The rain remains in the sand, so that on making wdth the 
fingers holes of four or five inches in depth at the bottom 
of these little hills, the water immediately flows out. 
This water was, indeed, rather thick, but its flavour was 
agreeable ; and it would have become clear if we could 
have spai-ed time to allow it to rest and deposit the par- 
ticles of sand it contained. 

It was a curious spectacle to behold us all lying pros- 
trate, digging wells in miniature, and displaying a laugh- 
able selfishness in our endeavours to obtain the most 
abundant source. This was a very important discovery 
to us. We found these sand-w^lls at the extremity of the 
desert, and it contributed, in no small degree, to revive 
the courage of our soldiers ; besides, when men are, aa 
was the case with us, subject to privations of every kind, 
the least benefit which accrues inspires the hope of a new 
advantage. We were approaching the confines of Syria, 
and we enjoyed by anticipation, the pleasure we were 
about to experience, on treading a soil which, by its va- 
riety of verdure and vegetation, would remind us of our 
native land. At Messoudiah we likewise possessed the 
advantage of bathing in the sea, which was not more than 
fifty paces from our unexpected water-supply. 


Whilst near the wells of Messoudiah, on our way to 
El-Arish, I one day saw Bonaparte walking alone with 
Junot, as he was often in the habit of doing. I stood at 
a little distance, and my eyes, I know not why, were fixed 
on him during their conversation. The General's coun- 
tenance, which was always pale, had, without my being 
able to divine the cause, become paler than usual. There 
was something convulsive in his features — a wildness in 
his look, and he several times struck his head with his 
hand. After conversing with Junot about a quarter of an 
hour he quitted him and came towards me. I never saw 
him exhibit such an air of dissatisfaction, or appear so 
much under the influence of some prepossession. I ad- 
vanced towards him, and as soon as we met, he exclaimed 
in an abrupt and angry tone, "So ! I find I cannot depend 
upon you. — These women ! — Josephine ! — If you had loved 
me, you would before now have told me all I have heard 
from Junot — he is a real friend — Josephine I — and I 600 
leagues from her — you ought to have told me. — That she 
should thus have deceived me ! — Woe to them ! — I will 
exterminate the whole race of fops and puppies ! — As to 
her — divorce ! — yes, divorce ! a public and open divorce I 
— I must write ! — I know all ! — It is your fault — you 
ought to have told me ! " 

These energetic and broken exclamations, his disturbed 
countenance and altered voice, informed me but too well 
of the subject of his conversation with Junot. I saw that 
Junot had been drawn into a culpable indiscretion, and 
that, if Josephine had committed any faults, ho had cruelly 
exaggerated them. My situation was one of extreme 
delicacy. However, I had the good fortune to retain my 
self-possession, and as soon as some degree of calmness 
succeeded to this first burst, I replied that I knew noth- 
ing of the reports which Junot might have communicated 
to him ; that even if such reports, often the oft'spring of 
calumny, had reached my ear, and if I had considered it 


my duty to inform him of them, I certainly Tvould not 
have selected for that purpose the moment when he was 
600 leagues from France. I also did not conceal how 
blâmable Junot's conduct appeared to me, and how un- 
generous I considered it thus rashly to accuse a woman 
who was not present to justify or defend herself ; — that it 
was no great proof of attachment to add domestic uneasi- 
ness to the anxiety, already sufficiently great, which the 
situation of his brothers in arms, at the commencement 
of a hazardous enterprise, occasioned him. 

Notwithstanding these observations, which, however, he 
listened to with some calmness, the word " divorce " still 
escaped his lips ; and it is necessary to be aware of the 
degree of irritation to which he was liable when anything 
seriously vexed him, to be able to form an idea of what 
Bonaparte was during this painful scene. However, I kept 
my ground. I repeated what I had said. I begged of 
him to consider with what facility tales were fabricated 
and circulated, and that gossip such as that which had 
been repeated to him was only the amusement of idle 
persons, and deserved the contempt of strong minds. I 
spoke of his glory. " My glory ! " cried he. "I know not 
what I would not give if that which Junot has told me 
should be untrue ; so much do I love Josephine ! If she 
be really guilty a divorce must seperate us for ever. I 
will not submit to be a laughing-stock for all the imbe- 
ciles in Paris. I will write to Joseph ; he will get the 
divorce declared." 

Although his agitation continued long, intervals oc- 
curred in which he was less excited. I seized one of these 
moments of comparative calm to combat this idea of 
divorce which seemed to possess his mind. I represented 
to him especially that it would be imprudent to write to 
his brother with reference to a communication which was 
probably false. '' The letter might be intercepted ; it 
would betray the feelings of irritation which dictated it. 


As to a divorce, it would be time to think of that hereaf- 
ter, but advisedly." 

These last words produced an effect on him which I 
could not have ventured to hope for so speedily. He 
became tranquil, listened to me as if he had suddenly felt 
the justice of my observations, dropped the subject, and 
never returned to it ; except that about a fortnight after, 
when we were before St. Jean d'Acre, he expressed himself 
greatly dissatisfied with Junot, and complained of the 
injury he had done him by his indiscreet disclosures, 
which he began to regard as the inventions of malignity. 
I perceived afterwards that he never pardoned Junot for 
this indiscretion ; and I can state, almost with certainty, 
that this was one of the reasons why Junot was not 
created a marshal of France, like many of his comrades 
whom Bonaparte had loved less. It may be supposed 
that Josephine, who was afterwards informed by Bona- 
parte of Juuot's conversation, did not feel particularly 
interested in his favour.* He died insane on the 27th of 
July 1813. 

* However indiscreet Junot might on this occaçnon have shown himself in inter- 
fering in 80 delicate a matter, it is pretty certain thi\t his suspicions were breathed 
to no other car than that of Bonaparte himself. Madame Junot, in speaking of the 
ill-Buppressed enmity between her husband and Madame Bonaparte, says that he 
never uttered a loord even to her of the subject of his conversation icith the Oeueral 
in- Chief in Egypt. That Junot's testimony, however, notwithstanding the counte- 
nance it obtained from Bonaparte's rehxtionR, ought to be cautiously received, tke 
following passixge from tho Memoirs of the Duchesse (VAbraïUès, vol. i. p. 250, 
demonstrative of the feelings of irritation between the partiea, will show : — 

*' Junot escorted Madame Bonaparte when she went to join the General-in-Chief 
in Italy. I am surprised that M. de Bourriuniie has omitted mentioning this circum- 
8tancc in his Memoirs. He must have known it, since he was well acquiintcd with 
everything relating to Josephine, and knew many facts of high interest in her life 
aRthiKpeno<l and suhsoqMiiitly. llnw happens it too that he makes no mention of 
Mademoiselle Lcjiiiso, who mi|,'ht be allied her demoiselle de compaynie rather than 
her femme de chambre t At the outset of the journey to Italy sho was such a 
favourite with Jou'phine that she dressed like her mistress, sat ac table with hor, and 
was in all respects her friend and confidante. 

" The journey was long, nmch too long for Junot, though ho was very much 
In love with Madomoisollo LjjuIko. But ho was an.xious to join the army, for to him 
hi» {Jencral was always the (''^"■jest of Miifitn-HBeH. Junot has often HiK)ken to me, 
and to m« a/oM«, of the vexations he experieticod on this journey. He might have 
nUUed to hta circumstantial details relative to Josephine t/ic conversation he is 


Our little army continued its march on El-Arish, where 
we arrived on the ITtli of February. The fatigues experi- 
enced in the desert and the scarcity of water excited violent 
murmurs amongst the soldiers during their march across 
the isthmus. "When any person on horseback passed them 
they studiously expressed their discontent. The advan- 
tage possessed by the horsemen provoked their sarcasms. 
I never heard the verses which they are said to have 
repeated, but they indulged in the most violent language 
against the Republic, the men of science, and those whom 
they regarded as the authors of the expedition. Never- 
theless these brave fellows, from whom it was not aston- 
ishing that such great privations should extort complaints, 
often compensated by their pleasantries for the bitterness 
of their reproaches. 

Many times during the crossing of the isthmus I have 
seen soldiers, parched with thirst, and unable to wait till 
the hour for distribution of water, pierce the leathern 
bottles which contained it ; and this conduct, so injurious 
to all, occasioned numerous quarrels. 

El-Arish surrendered on the 17th of February. It has 
been erroneously stated that the garrison of this insignifi- 
cant place, which was set at liberty on condition of not 
again serving against us, was afterwards found amongst 
the besieged at Jaffa. It has also been stated that it was 
because the men composing the El-Arish garrison did not 
proceed to Bagdad, according to the capitulation, that we 

reported to have had icith Bonaparte tn Egypt ; hut ht never breathed a word on 
the nubject, for hia character icas always noble and generous. The journey to 
Italy did not produce the effect which usually arises from such incidents in common 
life ; namely, a closer friendship and intimacy between the parties. On the con- 
tniry, Madame Bonaparte from that moment evinced pome depree of ill-humour 
towards Junot, and compiainctl with Bintfiihir warmth of the want of respect which 
he hud shown her, in making love to her femme de chambre before her face." 

According to Erreurs (touio i. pp. 4, 50) Junot was not then in Syria. On 16th 
February Napoleon was at Messoudiah. Junot only arrived from Egypt at Gaza 
on the 25th February. Madame d'Abrnnti-H (ii. 32) treats this conversation a.s 
Bpocryphttl. " This [an anecdote of her own] is not an imairinary épisode, like that; 
for eiample, of making a pcruon epeak at Mesaoudiah who never was there. " 


shot them at Jaffa. We shall presently see the falsehood 
of these assertions. 

On the 28th of February we obtained the first glimpse 
of the green and fertile plains of Syria, which, in many 
respects, reminded us of the climate and soil of Europe. 
We now had rain, and sometimes rather too much. The 
feelings which the sight of the valleys and mountains called 
forth made us, in some degree, forget the hardships and 
vexations of an expedition of which few persons could fore- 
see the object or end. There are situations in life when 
the sHghtest agreeable sensation alleviates all our ills. 

On the 1st of March we slept at Ramleh,' in a small 
convent occupied by two monks, who paid us the greatest 
attention. They gave us the church for a hospital. These 
good fathers did not fail to tell us that it was through 
this place the family of Jesus Christ passed into Egypt, and 
showed us the wells at which they quenched their thirst. 
The pure and cool water of these wells delighted us. 

We were not more than about six leagues from Jerusalem. 
I asked the General whether he did not intend to direct 
his march by the way of that cit}', so celebrated in many 
respects. He replied, " Oh no ! Jerusalem is not in my line 
of operations. I do not wish to be annoyed by moun- 
taineers in difficult roads. And, besides, on the other 
side of the mountain I should be assailed by swarms of 
cavalry. I am not ambitious of the fate of Cassius." 

We therefore did not enter Jerusalem, which was not 
disturbed by the war. All we did was to send a written 
declaration to the persons in power at Jerusalem, jissuring 
them that we had no design against that country, and 
only wished thorn to remain at peace. To this communi- 
cation no answer was returned, and nothing more passed 
on the subject." 

^ Ilamleh, the ancient Arlniathca, is Hltimted at the Imno of a rhnin of monnfjiins, 
the eantcrn extrrinity of which JH washed hj the l'ernian (Jiilf, and the wckUtq 
by the }Aci\\U-rTn\\oM\. — liourrienne. 

* Sir Walter Scolt buys, Bpeukiug of Bunui>urLc, thut lie believe» that little 


We found at Ramleh between two and three hundred 
Christians in a pitiable state of servitude, misery, and 
dejection. On conversing with them I could not help 
admiring how much the hope of future rewards may 
console men under present ills. But I learned from 
many of them that they did not live in harmony together. 
The feelings of hatred and jealousy are not less common 
amongst these people than amongst the better-instructed 
inhabitants of rich and jDopulous cities. 

of artillery dreamed of being King of Jerusalem. What I have juBt stated prover. 
that he never thought of such a thing. The "little officer of artillery" had a 
far more splendid dream in his head, — Boiirrienne, 

17ÔÔ. 193 



Arrival at Jaffa — The siege — Beauharnais and Croisier — Four thousand 
prisoners — Scarcity of provisions — Councils of war — Dreadful neces- 
sity — The massacre — The plague — Lannes and the mountaineers — 
Barbarity of Djezzar — Arrival at St. Jean d'Acre, and abortive 
attacks — Sir Sidney Smith — Death of CafFarelli — Duroc wounded — 
Rash bathing — Insurrections in Egypt. 

On arriving before Jaffa, where there were already some 
troops, the first person I met was Adjutant-Genera] 
Gresieux, with whom I was well acquainted. I wished 
him good-day, and offered him my hand. " Good God ! 
what are you about ? " said he, repulsing me with a very 
abrupt gesture ; '' you may have the plague. People do not 
touch each other here ! " I mentioned the circumstance 
to Bonaparte, who said, ** If he be afraid of the plague, he 
will die of it." Sliortly after, at St. Jean d'Acre, he was 
attacked by that malady, and soon sank under it. 

On the 4th of March we commenced the siege of Jaffa. 
That paltry place, which, to round a sentence, was pom- 
pously styled the ancient Jo2")pa, held out only to the Gtli 
of i\Iarch, when it was taken by storm, and given up to 
pillage. The massacre was horrible. General Bonaparte 
Hcnt his nide.H de camp Beauharnais and Croisier to ap- 
poaso the fury of the soldiers as much as possible, and 
to report to him what was passing. They learned that a 
considerable part of the garrison had retired into somo 
vast buildings, a sort of caravanserai, which formed a 
large oncloscMl court. Bc'aiiharnais and Croisier, who 
were distinguished by wearing the aide de camp scarf on 
Vol. I.-13 


their arms, proceeded to that place. The Arnauts and 
AlbaDians, of whom these refugees were almost entirely 
composed, cried from the windows that they were will- 
ing to surrender upon an assurance that they would 
be exempted from the massacre to which the town was 
doomed ; if not, they threatened to fire on the aides de 
camp, and to defend themselves to the last extremity. 
The two officers thought that they ought to accede to the 
proposition, notwithstanding the decree of death which 
had been pronounced against the whole garrison, in 
consequence of the town being taken by storm. They 
brought them to our camp in two divisions, one consisting 
of about 2500 men, the other of about 1500. 

I was walking with General Bonaparte, in front of hia 
tent, when he beheld this mass of men approaching, and 
before he even saw his aides de camp he said to me, in a 
tone of profound sorrow, " What do they wish me to do 
with these men ? Have I food for them ? — ships to convey 
them to Egypt or France? Why, in the devil's name, have 
they served me thus ? " After their arrival, and the ex- 
planations which the General-in-Chief demanded and lis- 
tened to with anger, Eugene and Croisier received the 
most severe reprimand for their conduct. But the deed 
was done. Four thousand men were there. It was neces- 
sary to decide upon their fate. The two aides de camp 
observed that they had found themselves alone in the 
midst of numerous enemies, and that he had directed them 
to restrain the carnage. "Yes, doubtless," replied the 
General-in-Chief, with great warmth, " as to women, chil- 
dren, and old men — all the peaceable inhabitants ; but not 
with respect to armed soldiers. It was your duty to die 
rather than bring these unfortunate creatures to me. 
What do you want me to do with them?" These words 
were pronounced in the most angry tone. 

The prisoners were then ordered to sit down, and were 
placed, without any order, in front of the tents, their 


hands tied behind their backs. A sombre determination 
was depicted in their countenances. We gave them a 
little biscuit and bread, squeezed out of the already scanty 
supply for the army. 

On the first day of their arrival a council of war was 
held in the tent of the General-in-Chief, to determine what 
course should be pursued with respect to them. The 
council deliberated a long time without coming to any 

On the evening of the following day the daily reports 
of the generals of division came in. They spoke of noth- 
ing but the insufficiency of the rations, the complaints of 
the soldiers — of their murmurs and discontent at seeing 
their bread given to enemies who had been withdrawn 
from their vengeance, inasmuch as a decree of death, in 
conformity with the laws of war, had been passed on Jaffa. 
All these reports were alarming, and especially that of 
General Bon, in which no reserve was made. He spoke 
of nothing less than the fear of a revolt, which would be 
justified by the serious nature of the case. 

The council assembled again. All the generals of divis- 
ion were summoned to attend, and for several hours to- 
gether they discussed, under separate questions, what 
measures might be adopted, with the most sincere desire 
to discover and execute one which would save the lives of 
these unfortunate prisoners. 

(1.) Should they be sent into Egypt? Could it be done? 

To do so, it would be necessary to send with them a 
numerous escort, which would too much weaken our little 
army in the enemy's couutry. How, besides, could they 
and the escort be supported till they reached Cairo, hav- 
ing no provisions to give them on setting out, and their 
route being through a hostile ten-itory, which we had ex- 
hausted, which presented no fresh resources, and through 
wbich we, pnrliaps, might have to return. 

(2.) {Should they be embarked V 


Where were the ships ? — Where could they be found ? 
All our telescopes, directed over the sea, could not descry 
a single friendly sail. Bonaparte, I affirm, would have re- 
garded such an event as a real favour of fortune. It was, 
and I am glad to have to say it, this sole idea, this sole 
hope, which made him brave, for three days, the murmurs 
of his army. But in vain was help looked for seaward. 
It did not come. 

(3.) Should the prisoners be set at liberty? 

They would then instantly proceed to St. Jean d'Acre 
to reinforce the pasha, or else, throwing themselves into 
the mountains of Nablous, would greatly annoy our rear 
and right flank, and deal out death to us, as a recompense 
for the life we had given them. There could be no doubt 
of this. What is a Christian dog to a Turk ? It would 
even have been a religious and meritorious act in the eye 
of the Prophet. 

(4.) Could they be incorporated, disarmed, with our 
soldiers in the ranks ? 

Here again the question of food presented itself in all 
its force. Next came to be considered the danger of 
having such comrades while marching through an enemy's 
country. What might happen in the event of a battle 
before St. Jean d'Acre ? Could we even tell what might 
occur during the march ? And, finally, what must be done 
with them when under the ramparts of that town, if we 
should be able to take them there? The same embarrass- 
ments with respect to the questions of provisions and 
security would then recur with increased force. 

The third day arrived without its being possible, anx- 
iously as it was desired, to come to any conclusion fa- 
vourable to the preservation of these unfortunate men. 
The murmurs in the camp grew louder — the evil went on 
increasing — remedy appeared impossible — the danger was 
real and imminent. 

The order for shooting the prisoners was given and 


executed on the 10th of March. We did not, as has been 
stated, separate the Egyptians from the other prisoners. 
There were no Egj^ptians. 

Many of the unfortunate creatures composing the 
smaller division, which was fired on close to the sea- 
coast, at some distance from the other column, succeeded 
in swimming to some reefs of rocks out of the reach of 
musket-shot. The soldiers rested their muskets on the 
sand, and, to induce the prisoners to return, employed 
the Egyptian signs of reconcihation in use in the country. 
They came back ; but as they advanced they were killed, 
and disappeared among the waves. 

I confine myself to these details of this act of dreadful 
necessity, of which I was an eye-witness. Others, who, 
like myself, saw it, have fortunately spared me the recital 
of the sanguinary result. This atrocious scene, when I 
think of it, still makes me shudder, as it did on the day I 
beheld it ; and I would wish it were possible for me to for- 
get it, rather than be compelled to describe it. All the 
horrors imagination can conceive, relative to that day of 
blood, would fall short of the reality. 

I have related the truth, the whole truth. I was present 
at all the discussions, all the conferences, all the delibera- 
tions. I had not, as may be supposed, a deliberative 
voice ; but I am bound to declare that the situation of the 
army, the scarcity of food, our small numerical strength, 
in the midst of a country where every individual was an 
enemy, would have induced me to vote in the affirmative 
of the proi:)osition whicli was carried into elTect, if I had a 
vote to give. It was necessary to be on the spot in order 
to understand the horrible necessity which existed. 

War, unfortunately, presents too many occasions on 
whicli a law, iiiiiuutable in all ages, and conimon to all 
nations, requires that private interests should be sacrificed 
to a great general interest, and that even humanity should 
be forgotten. It is for posterity to judge whether this ter- 


rible situation was that in which Bonaparte was placed. 
For my own part, I have a perfect con\iction that he 
could not do otherwise than yield to the dire necessity of 
the case. It was the advice of the council, whose opinion 
was unanimous in favour of the execution, that governed 
him. Indeed I ought in truth to say, that he yielded only 
in the last extremity, and was one of those, perhaps, who 
beheld the massacre with the deepest pain.' 

* The following is Napoleons own account of this dreadful affair : I afiked the 
Emperor then if he had ever read Miot'a history of the expedition to Egypt. 
" What, the commissary ? " replied he. " I believe Las Cases gave me a copy ; 
moreover, it was published in my time." He then desired me to bring the one 
which I had, that he might compare them. He observed, " Miot was a polisson, 
whom, together with his brother, I raised from the dirt. He says that I threatened 
him for writing the book, which is a falsehood. I said to his brother once that ho 
might as well not have published untruths. He was a man who had always fear 
Defore his eyes. What does he say about the poisoning affair and the shooting at 
Jaffa ?" I replied, that as to the poisoning, Miot declared he could say no more 
than that such had been the current report : but he positively asserted that he 
(Napoleon) had caused between three and four thousand Turks to be shot some days 
after the capture of Jaffa. Napoleon answered, "It is not true that there were so 
many. I ordered about a thousand or twelve hundred to be shot, which was done. 
The reason was, that amongst the garrison of Jaffa, a number of Turkish troops 
were discovered whom I had taken a short time before at El-Arish, and sent to Bag- 
dad upon their parole not to serve again, or to be found in arms against me for a 
year. I had caused them to be escorted twelve leagues on their way to Bagdad by a 
division of my army. But those Turks, instead of proceeding to Bagdad, threw 
themselves into Jaffa, defended it to the last, and cost me a number of brave men to 
take it, whose lives would have been spared if the others had not reinforced the gar- 
rison of Jaffa. Moreover, before I attacked the town I sent them a flag of truce. 
Immediately afterwards we saw the head of the bearer hoisted on a pole over the 
wall. Now, if I had spared them again, and sent them away upon their parole, they 
would have directly gone to St. Jean d'Acre, where they would have playetl over 
again the same scene that they had done at Jaffa. In justice to the lives of 
my soldiers, as every general ought to consider himself as their father, and them aa 
his children, I could not allow this. To leave as a guard a portion of my army, 
alreatly small and reduced in number, in consequence of the breach of faith of those 
wretches, was impossible. Indeed, to have acted otherwise than as I did would prob- 
ably have caused the destruction of my whole army. I therefore, availing myself of 
the rights of war, which authorise the putting to death prisoners taken under such 
oircumstances, independently of the right given to me by taking the city by assault, 
and that of retaliation on the Turks, ordered that the prisonem taken at El-Ariih 
who, in defiance of their capitulation, had been found bearing arms againrt me, 
should be selected out and shot. The rest, amounting to a considerable number, 
were spared. " I would," continued he, " do the same thing again to-morrow, a&tl 
so would Wellington or any general commanding an army under similar circmnc 
stances" {A Voice/rom St. Helena), 

Savary (tome i. p. 154) gives a similar account, but he was not preseot. Thfon 


After the siege of Jaffa the plague began to exhibit 
itself with a little more virulence. We lost between seven 
and eight hundred men by the contagion during the cam- 
paign of Syria/ 

During our march on St. Jean d'Acre, which was com- 
menced on the 14th of March, the army neither obtained 
the brilliant triumphs nor encountered the numerous ob- 
stacles spoken of in certain works. Nothing of impor- 
tance occurred but a rash skirmish of General Lannes, 
who, in spite of contrary orders from Bonaparte, obsti- 
nately pursued a troop of mountaineers into the passes of 
Nablous. On returning, he found the mountaineers placed 
in ambush in great numbers amongst rocks, the windings 
of which they were well acquainted with, whence they 
fired close upon our troops, whose situation rendered 
them unable to defend themselves. During the time of 
this foolish and useless enterprise, especially while the 
firing was brisk, Bonaparte exhibited much impatience, 
and, it must be confessed, his anger was but natural. 
The Nablousians halted at the openings of the moun- 
tain defiles. Bonaparte reproached Lannes bitterly for 
having uselessly exposed himself, and " sacrificed, with- 
out any object, a number of brave men." Lannes ex- 
cused himself by saying that the mountaineers had de- 
fied him, and he wished to chastise the rabble. "We 
are not in a condition to play the swaggerer," replied 

(tome V. p. 447) accept» this nccount. Jomini (tome i. pp. 292-203), a good judge, 
treatH the act an unjuHtiflablo by public law, but justifiable by reciprocity, i.e.. con- 
•idering the treatment the French would certainly have met with from the Turks. 
Lanfrcy (tome i. pp. 8U3 3%) of course throws the whole weight of blame on 
Nap<Meon, denying there was any ditllculty in feeding the prisoners. It will bo 
noticed that Uouirienne denies one of the reasons given at St. Helena, that it woa 
known the men formed part of the garrison of El-Arish. Some protestations were 
made among the offlcers. 

' Sir Walter Scott says, that Heaven sent this pestilence amongst us to avenge 
the maMacre of Jaffa. The i)eHtilen<-e had lt« origin, however, bi^foro the raansacre, 
for Kléber's division cnught the twcds of the dreadful miiliidy at Uamietta. It waa 
deTeloi>ed and propagated on our march ; and waa carried Into Syrio with u»,— 


In four days we arrived before St. Jean d'Acre, where 
"we learned that Djezzar had cut off the head of our envoy, 
Mailly-de-Chiiteau-Reuaud, and thrown his body into the 
sea in a sack. This cruel pasha was guilty of a great 
number of similar executions. The waves frequently 
drove dead bodies towards the coast, and we came upon 
them whilst bathing. 

The details of the siege of Acre are well known. Al- 
though surrounded by a wall, flanked with strong towers, 
and having, besides, a broad and deep ditch defended by 
works, this little fortress did not appeal' likely to hold out 
against French valour and the skill of our cor23S of engin- 
eers and artillery : but the ease and rapidity with which 
Jaffa had been taken occasioned us to overlook in some 
degree the comparative strength of the two places, and 
the difference of their respective situations. At Jaffa 
we had sufficient artillery : at St. Jean d'Acre we had not. 
At Jaffa we had to deal only with a garrison left to 
itself : at St. Jean d'Acre we were opposed by a garrison 
strengthened by reinforcements of men and supplies of 
provisions, supported by the English fleet, and assisted by 
Euroj^ean science. 

Sir Sidney Smith was, beyond doubt, the man Avho did 
us the greatest injury.' Much has been said respecting his 
communications with the General-in-Chief. The reproaches 
which the latter cast uj^on him for endeavouring to seduce 
the soldiers and officers of the army by tempting offers 
were the more singular, even if they were well foimded, 
inasmuch as these means are frequently employed by 
leaders in war.^ As to the embarking of French prisoners 

* Sir Sidney Smith was the only Englishman besides the Duke of Wellington who 
defeated Napoleon in military operations. The third Englishman opposed to him, 
Sir John Moore, \va.s compelled to make a precipitate n-trcat through the weakness 
of his force. 

3 At one time the French General was so disturbed by them as to endeavour to put 
a stop to them, which object he effected by interdictinj,' all connnuuicntion with the 
Enjflish, and signifying, in an order of the day, that their Commodore was a mad- 
mau. This, being believed in the army, so enraged Sir Sidney Smith, that in his 

^ -: '.^i-' 



on board a vessel in which the plague existed, the im- 
probability of the circumstance alone, but especially the 
notorious facts of the case, repell this odious accusation. 
I observed the conduct of Sir Sidney Smith closel}' at 
the time, and I remarked in him a chivalric spirit, which 
sometimes hurried him into trifling eccentricities ; but I 
affirm that his behaviour towards the French was that of 
a gallant enemy. I have seen many letters, in which the 
writers informed him that they "were very sensible of 
the good treatment whicli the French experienced when 
they fell into his hands." Let any one examine Sir Sid- 
ney's conduct before the capitulation of El-Arish, and 
after its rupture, and then they can judge of his char- 

wrath he sent a challenge to Nai)oleon. The latter replied, that he had too many 
weighty affairs „n his hands to trouble himself in so trifling a matter. Had it, in- 
deed, been the great Marlborough, it might have been worthy his attention. Still, 
if the English sailor was absolutely bent upon fighting, he would send him a bravo 
from the army, and alljw them a small portion of neutral ground, where the mad 
Commodore might land, and satisfy his humour to the tiill— Edita?' c»/ 188(5 Edition. 

' Napoleon, when at St. Helena, in speaking of the siege of Acre, said, "Sidney 
Smith is a brave officer. He displayed considerable ability in the treaty for the 
evacuation of Egypt by the French. He took advantage of the discontent which 
nc found to prevail amongst the French troops at being so long away from France, 
and other circumstances. He manifested great honour in sending immediately to 
Klûber the -efusal of Lord Keith to ratify the treaty, which saved the French 
army; if he had kei)t it a secret .seven or eight days longer, Cairo would have been 
given up to the Turks, and the French army necessarily obliged to surrender to tho 
English. He also showed great humanity and honour in all his proceedinga towards 
the French who fell into his hands. He landed at Havre, for some sottise of a bet 
ho had made, according to some, to go to the theatre ; others said it was for espiou- 
aif ; however th it may be, ho was arrested and confined in the Temple as a spy; 
and at one time it was intended to try and exccnte him. Shortly after I returned 
from Italy he wrote to nu; from his prison, to request that I would intercede for 
him; but, und-jr the ci^cum.^tances in which he was taken, I could do nothing for 
him. Hu is active, intelligent, intriguing, and indefatigable; but 1 believe that he 
is mezzo pazo. 

"The chief cause of the failure at Aero was, that he t<K)k all my battering train, 
which was on board of several small vessels. Had it not been for that, I would 
have taken Acre in spit^; of liim. lie behaveil very bravely, and was will seconded 
by l'hlllipo:iu.x, a FreiK.-hinun (»f talent, who had stiulied with me as an engineer. 
There was a Major Douglas also, who behaved very gallantly. The ac(paisition of 
tlvc or six hundreil seamen UH gunner» wa:4 a great advaiiUige to tho Turks, whoHo 
KpirltH th(!y revived, and whom they htn>Wfd li..w to dcfeutl the fortresg. Hut ho 
committttd u great fault in making Horlies, whicli cost tku lives of two or throe liun- 
Urod brave fellows without the puhbibility of buoccs*». For it was Uuposaiblo ho 


All our manœuvres, our works, and attacks were rDade 
with that levity and carelessness which over-confidence 
inspires. Kléber, whilst walking with me one day in the 
lines of our camp, frequently expressed his surprise and 
discontent. *' The trenches," said he, "do not come up 
to my knees." Besieging artillery was, of necessity, re- 
quired : we commenced with field artillery. This encour- 
aged the besieged, who perceived the weakness of our re- 
sources. The besieging artillery, consisting only of three 
twenty-four pounders and six eighteen pounders, was not 
brought up until the end of April, and before that period 
three assaults had taken place with very serious loss. On 
the 4th of May our powder began to fail us. This cruel 
event obliged us to slacken our fire. We also wanted 
shot ; and an order of the day fixed a price to be given 
for all balls, according to their calibre, which might be 
picked up after being fired from the fortress or the two 
ships of the line, the Tiger and Theaeus, which were sta- 
tioned on each side of the harbour. These two vessels 
embarrassed the communication between the camp and 
the trenches ; but though they made much noise, they 
did little harm. A ball from one of them killed an officer 
on the evening the siege was raised. 

The enemy had within the v.alls some excellent rifle- 
men, chiefly Albanians. They placed stones, one over the 
other, on the walls, put their firearms through the inter- 
stices, and thus, completely sheltered, fired with destructive 

On the 9th of April General Caffarelli, so well known for 

could succeed against the number of the French who were before Acre. I would 
lay a wager that he loRt half of his crew in them. He disporyed proclamations 
amongst my troops, which certainly shook some of them, and I in consequence pub- 
lished an order, staling tliat he was imul, and forbidding all communication with 
him. Some days after he sent, by means of a flag of truce, a lieutenant or a mid- 
shipman with a letter containing a challenge to me to meet him at some place he 
pointed out in order to fight a diu.l. I laughed at this, and sent hira back an in- 
timation that when he brought Marlborough to fight me I would meet him. Not- 
withstanding this, I like the character of the man" {Voice from SC. Helena, vol. i. 
p. 208). 


his courage and talents, was passing tlirougli the trench, 
his hand resting as he stooped on his hip, to preserve the 
equihbrium wiiich his wooden leg impaired ; his elbow 
only was raised above the trench. He was warned that 
the enemy's shot, fired close upon us, did not miss the 
smallest object. He paid no attention to any obsei-vation 
of this kind, and in a few instants his elbow-joint was 
fractured. Amputation of the arm was judged indispens- 
able. The General survived the operation eighteen days. 
Bonaparte went regularly twice a day to his tent. By his 
order, added to my friendship for Caffarelli, I scarcely ever 
quitted him. Shortly before he expired he said to me, 
"My dear Bourrienne, be so good as to read to me 
Voltaire's preface to the Esprit des Lois." When I returned 
to the tent of the General-in-Chief he asked, "How is 
Caffarelli ?" I replied, " He is near his end ; but he asked 
me to read him Voltaii-e's j^reface to the Esprit des Lois. 
He has just fallen asleep." Bonaparte said, "Bah! to 
wish to hear that preface ? how singular ! " He went 
to see Caffarelli, but he was still asleep. I returned 
to him that evening, and received his last breath. He 
died with the utmost composure. His death was equally 
regretted by the soldiers and the men of science who ac- 
companied us. It was a just regret, fully due to that dis- 
tinguished man, in whom very extensive information was 
united with great courage and an aniiable disposition. 

On the 10th of May, when an assault took place, Bona- 
parte proceeded at an early hour to the trenches. ' Croisier, 
who was mentioned on our arrival at Damanhour, and on 
the capiuro of JaQ'a, liad in vain courted death since the 
cominoncement of the siege. Life had become insup- 
portable to him since the unfortunate affair at Jaffa. Ho 
as usual accompanied his General to the trenches. Be- 
lieving that the termination of tlio siege, which was 

• Sir Ridiii'y Smith, in hiw ollli-inl ix-port of Llic ansuiUtof Ihu «Lh of May, sayt that 
Napuluuu waa clibLiuctiy hocu diructim; the ui>ui'uUuu. 


supposed to be near, would postpone indefinitely the death 
which he sought, he mounted a battery. In this situation 
his tall figure uselessly provoked all the enemy's shots. 
" Croisier, come down, I command you ; 3'ou bave no 
business there," cried Bonaparte, in a loud and imperative 
tone. Croisier remained without making any rej^ly. A 
moment after a ball passed through his right leg. Ampu- 
tation was not considered indispensable. On the day of 
our departure he was placed on a litter, which was borne 
by sixteen men alternately, eight at a time. I received 
his last farewell between Gaza and El-Arish, where he died 
of tetanus. His modest tomb will not be often visited. 

The siege of St. Jean d'Acre lasted sixty days. During 
that time eight assaults and twelve sorties took place. In 
the assault of the 8th of IMay more than 200 men penetrated 
into the town. Victory ^ was already shouted ; but the 
breach having been taken in reverse by the Turks, it was 
not approached without some degree of hesitation, and the 
200 men who had entered were not supported. The 
streets were barricaded. The cries, the bowlings of the 
women, who ran through the streets throwing, according 
to the custom of the country, dust in the air, excited the 
male inhabitants to a desperate resistance, which rendered 
unavailing this short occupation of the town by a handful 
of men, who, finding themselves left without assistance, 
retreated towards the breach. Many who could not reach 
il perished in the town. 

During this assault Duroc, who was in the trench, was 
wounded in the right thigh by the sj^linter from a shell 
fired against the fortifications. Fortunately this accident 
only carried away the flesh from the bone, which remained 
untouched. He liad a tent in common with several other 
aides de camp ; but for his better accommodation I gave 
him mine, and I scarcely ever quitted him. Entering his 
tent one day about noon, I found him in a profound sleep. 
The excessive heat had compelled him to throw oil' all 


covering, and part of his wound was exposed. I perceived 
a scorpion which had crawled up the leg of the camp-bed 
and approached very near to the wound. I was just in 
time to hui'l it to the ground. The sudden motion of my 
hand awoke Duroc. 

We often bathed in the sea. Sometimes the English, 
perhaps after taking a double allowance of grog, would 
fire at our heads, which appeared above water. I am not 
aware that any accident was occasioned by their cannon- 
ade ; but as we were beyond reach of their guns, we 
paid scarcely any attention to the firing. It was even a 
subject of amusement to us. 

Had our attack on St. Jean d'Acre been less precipitate, 
and had the siege been undertaken according to the rules 
of war, the place would not have held out three days ; one 
assault, like that of the 8th of Ma^', would have been suffi- 
cient. If, in the situation in which we were on the day 
when we first came in sight of the ramparts of Acre, wo 
had made a less inconsiderate estimate of the strength of 
the place ; if we had likewise taken into consideration the 
active co-operation of the English and the Ottoman Porte, 
our absolute want of artillery of sufficient calibre, our 
scarcity of gunpowder and the difficulty of procuring food, 
we certainly should not have undertaken the siege ; and 
that would have been by far the wisest course. 

Towards the end of the siege the General-in-Chief 
received intelHgenco of some trifiing insurrections in 
northern Egypt. An angel liad excited them, and tlie 
heavenly messenger, wlio liad condescended to assume a 
name, was called the Mahdi, or El IMôhdy. This religious 
extravagance, however, did not last long, and trancjuillity 
was soon restored. All that the fanatic Mahdi, who 
shrouded himself in mystery, succeeded in doing was to 
attfick oiu* r(îar by some vagabonds, whoso illusions woro 
dissipated by a few nuiskot- shots. 

âOG 1799. 


The siege of Acre raised — Attention to names in bulletins — Gigantic pro- 
ject — The Druses — ^Vlount Carmel — The wounded and infected — 
Order to march on foot — Loss of our cannon — A Nablousian fires at 
Bonaparte — Return to Jaffa — Bonaparte visits the plague hospital — 
A potion given to the sick — Bonaparte's statement at St. Helena. 

The siege of St. Jean d'Acre was raised on the 20th of 
May. It cost us a loss of nearly 3000 men, in killed, 
deaths by the plague, or wounds. A great number were 
wounded mortally. In those veracious documents, the 
bulletins, the French loss was made 500 killed, and 1000 
wounded, and the enemy's more than 15,000.' 

Our bulletins may form curious materials for history ; 
but their value certainly will not depend on the credit 
due to their details. Bonaparte attached the greatest 
importance to those documents, generally drawing them 
up himself, or correcting tliem, when written by another 
hand, if the composition did not please him. 

It must be confessed that at that time nothing so much 
flattered self-love as being mentioned in a bulletin. Bona- 
parte was well aware of this ; he knew that to insert a 
name in a bulletin was conferring a great honour, and 
that its exclusion was a severe disappointment. General 
Berthier, to whom I had expressed a strong desire to ex- 
amine the works of the siege, took me over them ; but, 
notwithstanding his promise of secrecy, he mentioned the 
cii'cumstance to the General-in-Chief, who had desired me 

1 M. Auro, the orclonnateur-en-chef of the army, computes the whole number of 
deatbb during the Syriau campaign at 2000 (Etreurs, tome i. p. 75). 


not to approach the works. " What did you go there 
for?" said Bonaparte to me, with some severity; "that 
is not your place." I replied that Berthier told me that 
no assault would take place that day ; and he believed 
there would be no sortie, as the garrison had made one 
the preceding evening. '' What matters that ? There 
might have been another. Those who have nothing to do 
in such places are always the first victims. ^ Let every 
man mind his own business. Wounded or killed, I would 
not even have noticed you in the bulletin. You would 
have been laughed at, and that justly." 

Bonaparte, not having at this time experienced reverses, 
having continually proceeded from triumph to triumph, 
confidently anticipated the taking of St. Jean d'Acre. In 
his letters to the generals in Egypt he fixed the 25th of 
April for the accomplishment of that event. He reckoned 
that the grand assault against the tower could not be made 
before that day ; it took place, however, twenty-four hours 
sooner. He wrote to Desaix on the 19th of April, "I 
count on being master of Acre in six days." On the 2d of 
May he told Junot, " Our 18 and 24 pounders have arrived. 
We hope to enter Acre in a few days. The fire of their 
artillery is completely extinguished." Letters have been 
printed, dated 30th FloroaP (19th May), in which he an- 
nounces to Dugua and to Poussielgue that they can rely 
on his being in Acre on Gth Floréal (25th April). Some 
mistake has evidently been made. " The slightest cir- 
cumstances produce the greatest events," said Napoleon, 
according to the 3Iemorial of St. Helena; "had St. Jean 
d'Acre fallen, I should have changed the face of the world." 
And again, " The fate of the East lay in that small town." 

' Tt may Ixi notod that thift hafl alwtiyH been ii common Ix^liof amoiiK Holdiri-8, ah 
idea K'.ippDrLed by the frocjuunt wounds and dciith of pcraonH voluiiturily ou^iiKCi^ ^^ 

2 If in tlic'Ho latter letters for aOth FlorétU wo rtnul .^Oth Germinal (Ifllh April), tho 
lettiTH f-o (Jttffftrc'lll, Dti|;fua, and to PouHslcljfiie will agree in their dates with thoHO 
tu DcHulx. 


This idea is not one wliich be first began to entertain at 
St. Helena ; he often repeated the very same words at St. 
Jean d'Acre. On the shore of Ptolemais gigantic projects 
agitated him, as, doubtless, regret for not having carried 
them into execution tormented him at St. Helena. 

Almost every evening Bonaparte and myself used to 
walk together, at a little distance from the sea-shore. The 
day after the unfortunate assault of the 8th of jMay Bona- 
parte, afflicted at seeing the blood of so many brave men 
uselessly shed, said to me, "Bourrienne, I see that this 
wretched place has cost me a number of men, and wasted 
much time. But things are too far advanced not to attempt 
a last effort. If I succeed, as I expect, I shall find in the 
town the pasha's treasures, and arms for 300,000 men. 
I will stir up and arm the people of Syria, who are dis- 
gusted at the ferocity of Djezzar, and who, as you know, 
pray for his destruction at every assault. I shall then 
march upon Damascus and Aleppo. On advancing into 
the country, the discontented will flock round my stand- 
ard, and swell my arm}'. I will announce to the people 
the abolition of servitude and of the tyrannical governments 
of the x^ashas. I shall arrive at Constantinople with large 
masses of soldiery. I shall overturn the Turliish empire, 
and found in the East a new and grand empire, which 
will fix my place in the records of posterity. Perhaps I 
shall return to Paris by Adrianople, or by Vienna, after 
having annihilated the house of Austria." After I had 
made some observations which these grand projects natu- 
rally suggested, he replied, "What! do you not see that 
the Druses only wait for the fall of Acre to rise in re- 
bellion? Have not the keys of Damascus already been 
offered me? I only stay till these walls fall because until 
then I can derive no advantage from this large town. By 
the operation which I meditate I cut off all kind of succour 
from the beys, and secure the conquest of Egypt. I will 
have Dcsaix nominated commander-in-chief ; but if I do 


not succeed in the last assault I am about to attempt, I 
set off directly. Time presses. I shall not be at Cairo 
before the middle of June. The winds will then be 
favourable for ships bound to Egypt from the north. 
Constantinople will send troops to Alexandria and Ko- 
setta. I must be there. As for the army which will 
arrive afterwards by land, I do not fear it this year. I 
will cause everything to be destroyed, all the way to the 
entrance of the desert. I will render the passage of an 
army impossible for two years. Troops cannot exist 
amidst ruins." 

As soon as I returned to my tent I committed to paj^er 
this conversation, which was then quite fresh in my mem- 
ory ; and I may venture to say that every word I put down 
is correct. I may add, that during the siege our camp was 
constantly filled with the inhabitants, who invoked Heaven 
to favour our arms, and prayed fervently at every assault 
for our success, many of them on their knees, with their 
faces to the city. The people of Damascus, too, had 
offered the keys to Bonaparte. Thus everytliing contrib- 
uted to make him confident in his favourite plan. 

The troops left St. Jean d'Acre on the 20th of May, tak- 
ing advantage of the night to avoid a sortie from the be- 
sieged, and to conceal the retreat of the army, which had 
to march three leagues along the shore, exposed to the fire 
of the English vessels lying in the roads of IMount Carmel. 
The removal of tlie wounded and sick commenced on the 
IBtli and 10th of May. 

Bonaparte then made a proclamation, which from one 
end to the other offends against truth. It has been pub- 
lifilicd in many works. The season of tlio year for hostile 
landing is there very dexterously' placted in the foreground ; 
all the rest is a deceitful exaggeration. It must bo ob- 
served that the proclamations which lionaparto regarded 
as calculated to dazzle an over too credulous public were 
amplifi(tations often ridiculous and incompréhensible uix)n 
Vol. I.— 14 


the spot, and which only excited the laughter of men of 
common sense. In all Bouajoarte's correspondence there 
is an endeavour to disguise his reverses, and impose on the 
public, and even on his own generals. For example, he 
wi'ote to General Dugua, commandant of Cairo, on the 
15th of February, " I will bring you plenty of prisoners 
and flags ! " One would almost be inclined to say that he 
had resolved, during his stay in the East, thus to pay a 
tribute to the country of fables/ 

Thus terminated this disastrous expedition. I have read 
somewhere that during this immortal campaign the two 
heroes Murat and Mourad had often been in face of one 
another. There is only a little difficulty; Mourad Bey 
never put his foot in SjTia. 

We proceeded along the coast, and passed Mount Car- 
mel. Some of the wounded were carried on litters, the re- 
mainder on horses, mules, and camels. At a short distance 
from Mount Carmel we vs^ere informed that three soldiers, 
ill of the plague, who were left in a convent (which served 
for a hospital), and abandoned too confidently to the gen- 
erosity of the Turks, had been barbarously put to death. 

A most intolerable thirst, the total want of water, an 
excessive heat, and a fatiguing march over burning sand- 
hills, quite disheartened the men, and made every generous 
sentiment give way to feelings of the grossest selfishness 
and most shocking indifference. I saw officers, witli their 
limbs amputated, thrown off the litters, whose removal in 
that way had been ordered, and who had themselves given 
money to recompense the bearers. I saw the amputated, 
the wounded, the infected, or those only suspected of in- 
fection, deserted and left to themselves. The march was 

1 Tlie prisoners anJ flaps were sent. The Turkish fl!\gs were entrusted by Berthier 
to the Adjutant-Cominantlant Boyer, who condii(;te<l a convoy of sick and wonmled 
to Egypt. Sidney Smith acknowledges the loss of some flags by the Turks. The 
Turkish prisoners were used as carriers of the litters for the wounded, and were, for 
Ihe most part, brought into Egypt (Erreurn, tome i. pp. 47 and 160). Sco also Lan^ 
frey (tome i. p. 4U3) as to i)riiouers and flags. 


illumined by torches, lighted for the purpose of setting 
fire to the little towns, villages, and hamlets which lay in 
the route, and the rich crops with which the land was then 
covered. The whole country was in a blaze. Those who 
were ordered to preside at this work of destiniction seemed 
eager to spread desolation on every side, as if they could 
thereby avenge themselves for their reverses, and find in 
such dreadful havoc an alleviation of their sufferings. We 
were constantly surrounded by plunderers, incendiaries, 
and the dying, who, stretched on the sides of the road, 
implored assistance in a feeble voice, saying, " I am not 
infected — I am only wounded ; " and to convince those 
whom they addressed, they reopened their old wounds, or 
inflicted on themselves fresh ones. Still nobody attended 
to them. "It is all over with him," was the observation 
applied to the unfortunate beings in succession, while 
every one pressed onward. The sun, which shone in an 
unclouded sky in all its brightness, was often darkened by 
our conflagrations. On our right lay the sea ; on our left, 
and behind us, the desert made by ourselves ; before were 
the privations and sufïerings which awaited us. Such was 
our true situation. 

We reached Tentoura on the 20th of May, when a most 
oppressive heat prevailed, and produced general dejection. 
We had nothing to sleep on but the parched and burning 
sand ; on our right lay a hostile sea ; our losses in 
wounded and sick were already considerable since leaving 
Acre ; and there was nothing consolatory in the future. Tlie 
truly afflicting condition in which the remains of an army 
called triumphant were plunged, produced, as might well 
be expected, a corresponding impression on tlio mind of 
the General-in-C!iief. Scarcely had he arrived at Ten- 
toura when he ordered his tent to bo pitched. He then 
called me, and with a mind occupied by tlio calamities of 
our situation, dictated an order tliat every one should 
march on foot ; and that all the horses, mules, and camela 


should be given up to tlie wounded, tlie sick, and infected 
who had been removed, and who still showed signs of life. 
" Carry that to Berth ier," said he ; and the order was in- 
stantly despatched. Scarcely had I returned to the tent 
when the elder Vigogne, the General-in-Chief's groom, 
entered, and raising his hand to his cap, said, " General, 
what horse do yow. reserve for yourself ? " In the state 
of excitement in which Bonaparte was this question irri- 
tated him so violently that, raising his whip, he gave the 
man a severe blow on the head, saying in a terrible voice, 
" Every one must go on foot, you rascal — I the first ! Do 
you not know the order ? Be off ! " 

Every one in parting with his horse was now anxious 
to avoid giving it to any unfortunate individual supposed 
to be suffering from plague. Much pains were taken to 
ascertain the nature of the diseases of the sick ; and no diffi- 
culty was made in accommodating tbe wounded or ampu- 
tated. For my part I had an excellent horse, a mule, and 
two camels, all which I gave up with the greatest pleas- 
ure ; but I confess that I directed my servant to do all he 
could to prevent an infected person from getting my 
horse. It was returned to me in a very short time. The 
same thing happened to many others. The cause may be 
easily conjectured. 

Tbe remains of our heavy artillery were lost in the mov- 
ing sands of Tentoura, from the want of horses, the small 
number that remained being employed in more indispen- 
sable services. The soldiers seemed to forget their own 
sufferings, plunged in grief at the loss of their bronze 
guns, often the instruments of their triumphs, and which 
had made Europe tremble. 

We halted at Cîcsarea on the 22d of May, and we 
marched all the following night. Towards daybreak a 
man, concealed in a bush upon the left of the road (the 
sea was two paces from us on the right), fired a musket 
almost close to the head of the General-in-Chief, who was 


sleeping on bis horse. I was beside him. The wood be- 
ing searched, the Nablousian w\as taken without difficulty. 
and ordered to be shot on the spot. Four guides pushed 
him towards the sea by thrusting their carbines against 
his back ; when close to the water's edge they drew the 
triggers, but all the four muskets hung fire : a circum- 
stance which was accounted for by the great humidity of 
the night. The Nablousian threw himself into the water, 
and, swimming with great agilit}^ and rapidit}^, gained a 
ridge of rocks so far off that not a shot from the whole 
troop, which fired as it passed, reached him. Bonaparte, 
who continued his march, desired me to wait for Kle- 
ber, whose division formed the rear-guard, and to tell 
him not to forget the Nablousian. He was, I believe, shot 
at last. 

We returned to Jaffa on the 24:th of May, and stopped 
there during the 25th, 2Gth, 27th, and 28th. This town 
had lately been the scene of a horrible transaction, dic- 
tated by necessity, and it was again destined to witness 
the exercise of the same dire law. Here I have a painful 
duty to perform — I will perform it. I will state what I 
know, what I saw. 

I have seen the following passage in a certain work : — 
" Bonaparte, having arrived at Jaffa, ordered three re- 
movals of the infected : one by sea to Damietta, and 
also by land ; the second to Gaza ; and the third to El- 
Arish ! " So many words, so many errors ! 

Some tents were pitched on an eminence near the gar- 
dens cast of Jaffa. Orders were given directly to under- 
mine the fortifications and blow them up ; and on ihc 27tli 
of May, upon the signal being given, the town was in a 
moment laid b;u'e. An hour afterwards the General-in- 
Chief left liis tent and repaired to the town, accompanied 
by Berthier, some jihysicians and surgeons, and his usual 
staff. I was also one of tlie i)arty. A long and sad de- 
liberation took place on the (question which now arose 


relative to the men who were incurably ill of the plague, 
or who were at the point of death. After a discussion of 
the most serious and conscientious kind it was decided to 
accelerate a few moments, by a potion, a death which was 
inevitable, and which would otherwise be painful and 

Bonaparte took a rapid view of the destroyed ramparts 
of the town and returned to the hospital, where there were 
men whose limbs had been amputated, many wounded, 
many afflicted with ophthalmia, whose lamentations were 
distressing, and some infected with the plague. The beds 
of the last description of patients were to the right on 
entering the first ward. I walked by the General's side, 
and I assert that I never saw him touch any one of the 
infected. And why should he have done so? They were 
in the last stage of the disease. Not one of them spoke a 
word to him, and Bonaparte well knew that he possessed 
no protection against the plague. Is Fortune to be again 
brought forward here? She had, in truth, little favoured 
him during the last few months, when he had trusted to 
her favours. I ask, why should he have exposed himself to 
certain death, and have left his army in the midst of a 
desert created by our ravages, in a desolate town, without 
succour, and without the hope of ever receiving any ? 
AVould he have acted rightly in doing so — he who was 
evidently so necessary, so indispensable to his army ; he 
on whom depended at that moment the lives of all who 
had survived the last disaster, and who had proved their 
attachment to him by their suflerings, their privations, 
and their unshaken courage, and who had done all that 
he could have required of men, and whoso only trust was 
in him ? 

Bonaparte walked quickly through the rooms, tajiping 
the yellow top of his boot with a whip he held in his 
hand. As he passed along with hasty steps he repeated 
these words: " The fortifications are destroyed. Fortune 


was against me at St. Jean d'Acre. I must return to 
Egypt to preserve it from the enemy, who will soon be 
there. In a few hours the Turks will be here. Let all 
those who have strength enough rise and come along with 
us. They shall be carried on litters and horses." There 
were scarcely sixty cases of plague in the hospital ; and 
all accounts stating a greater number are exaggerated. 
The perfect silence, complete dejection, and general 
stupor of the patients announced their approaching end. 
To carry them away in the state in which they were would 
evidently have been doing nothing else than inoculating 
the rest of the army with the plague. I have, it is true, 
learned, since my return to Europe, that some persons 
touched the infected with impunity ; nay, that others went 
so far as to inoculate themselves with the plague in order 
to learn how to cure those whom it might attack. It cer- 
tainly was a special protection from Heaven to be pre- 
served from it ; but, to cover in some degree the absurdity 
of such a story, it is added that they knew how to elude 
the danger, and that any one else who braved it without 
using precautions met with death for their temerity. 
This is, in fact, the whole point of the question. Either 
those privileged persons took indisi^ensable precautions, 
and in that case their boasted heroism is a mere juggler's 
trick ; or they touched the infected without using precau- 
tions, and inoculated themselves with the plague, thus 
voluntarily encountering death, and then the story is really 
a good one. 

The infected were confided, it has been stated, to the 
head apothecary of the army, Royer, who, dying in Egypt 
three years after, carried the secret with him to the grave. 
But on a moment's reflection it will be evident that the 
leaving of Royer alone in JalTa would have been to devote 
to certain deatli, and that a prompt and cruel one, a man 
who was extremely useful to the army, and who was 
ut the time in perfect health. It must be remembered 


that no guard could be left with him, aud that the Turks 
were close at our heels. Bod aparté truly said, while 
walkiug through the rooms of the hospital, that the Turks 
would be at Jaffa iu a few hours. With this conviction, 
would he have left the head apothecary in that town ? 

Recourse has been had to suppositious to support the 
contrary belief to what I state. For example, it is said 
that the infected patients were embarked in ships of war. 
There were no such ships. Where had they disem- 
barked, who had received them, what had been done with 
them? No one speaks of them.' Others, not doubting 
that the infected men died at Jaffii, say that the rear- 
guard under Kléber, by order of Bonaparte, delayed its 
departure for three days, and only began its march when 
death had put an end to the sufferings of these unfortunate 
beings, unshortened by any sacrifice. All this is incorrect. 
No rear-guard was left — it could not be done. Pretence 
is made of forgetting that the ramparts were destroyed, 
that the town was as open and as defenceless as any vil- 
lage, so this small rear- guard would have been left for 
certain destruction. The dates themselves tell against 
these suppositions. It is certain, as can be seen by the 
official account, that we arrived at Jaffa on 24th May, and 
stayed there the 25th, 26th, and 27th. We left it on the 
28th. Thus the rear-guard, which, according to these 
writers, left on the 29th, did not remain, even according 
to their own hypothesis, three days after the army to see 
the sick die. In reality it left on the 29th of May, the 
day after we did. Here are the very words of the Major- 
General (Berthier) in his official account, written under 
the eye and under the dictation of the Commander- 
in-Chief : — 

J Errerirs (tome i. pp. 30, 37, 87, ami 163, etc.) fully proves that many sick were 
sent by sen as well as by land, and gives the. names of the vessels employed, the olTlcers 
in charge, the ports of landing, etc. Sir Sidney Smith reports that he captured, but 
released and sent to Damietta, some if not all those sent by sea. Bourrienne himself 
Beems to have afterwards practically admitted he was wroné' about the difficulty of 
semoving the sick {Erreurs, tome i. p. 41). 


The army arrived at Jaffa 5tli Prairial (24th May), and remained 
there the 6th, 7th, and 8th (25th-27th May). This time was em- 
ployed in punishing the village, which had behaved badly. The 
fortifications of Jaffa were blown up. All the iron guns of the 
place were thrown into the sea. The icounded were removed by 
sea and by land. There were only a few ships, and to give time to 
complete the evacuation by land, the departure of the army had to 
be deferred until the 9th (28th May). Kléber's division formed 
the rear-guard, and only left Jaffa on the 10th (29th May). 

The official report of what passed at Jaffa was drawn 
up by Berthier, under the eye of Bonaparte. It has been 
published ; but it may be remarked that not a word about 
the infected, not a word of the visit to the hospital, or 
the touching of the plague-patients with impunity, is 
there mentioned. In no official report is anything said 
about the matter. Why this silence ? Bonaparte was not 
the man to conceal a fact which would have afforded him 
so excellent and so allowable a text for talking about his 
fortune. If the infected were removed, why not mention 
it ? Why be silent on so important an event ? But it 
would have been necessary to confess that being obliged 
to have recourse to so painful a measure was the unavoid- 
able consequence of this unfortunate expedition. Very 
disagreeable details must have been entered into ; and it 
was thought more advisable to be silent on the subject. 

But what did Napoleon himself say on the subject at 
St. Helena ? His statement there was to the following 
effect : — "I ordered a consultation as to what was best to 
be done. The report which was made stated that there 
were seven or eight men (the question is not about the 
number) so dangerously ill that they could not live beyond 
twenty-four hours, and would besides infect the rest of 
the army witli the plague. It was thought it wouM be 
ail act of charity to anticipate their death a few hours." 
(Then comes the fable of the 500 men of the rear-guard, 
who, it is pretended, saw tliem die.] ** I make no doubt 
that the story of the p(Msouing was the invention of 


Deu . He was a babbler, who understood a story 

badly, and repeated it worse. I do not think it would 
have been a crime .to have given opium to the infected. 
On the contrary, it would have been obedience to the 
dictates of reason. Where is the man who would not, in 
such a situation, have preferred a prompt death, to being 
exposed to the lingering tortures inflicted by bai'barians ? 
If my child, and I believe I love him as much as any father 
does his, had been in such a state, my advice would have 
been the same ; if I had been among the infected myself, 
I should have demanded to be so treated." 

Such was the reasoning at St. Helena, and such was 
the view which he and every one else took of the case 
twenty years ago at Jaifa.^ 

* M, de Boiirrienne's description of the extraordinary scene in the hospital of 
Jaffa does not precisely correspond with that given by some other writers. The 
reader may feel interested in comparing it with the account given by the Due de 
Rovigo in his Memoirs, tome i. p. 161. It is as follows: — 

"The hospital contained many soldiers who were in a state bordering upon mad- 
ness, much more owing to the terror which the malady inspired than to the intensity 
of the pain. General Bonaparte determined to restore them to their wonted energy. 
He paid them a visit, reproached them for giving way to dejection and yielding to 
chimerical fears ; and in order to convince them, by the most obvious proof, that 
their apprehensions were groundless, he desired that the bleeding tumour of one of 
the soldiers should be uncovered before him, and pressed it with his own hand. 
This act of heroism restored confidence to the sick, who no longer thought their case 
desperate. Each one recruited his remaining strength, and prepared to quit a place 
•which but a moment before he had expected never to leave. A grenadier, upon 
whom the plague had made greater ravages, could hardly raise himself from his bed. 
The Grcneral perceiving this addressed to him a few encouraging words. ' You are 
right, General,' replied the warrior; 'your grenadiers are not made to die in a 
hospital.'' Affected at the courage displayed by these unfoi-tunato men, \Yho were 
exhausted by uneasiness of mind no less than by the complaint. General Bonaparte 
would not quit them until he saw them all placed upon c:imels and the other means 
of transport at the disposal of the army. Those, however, being found inadequate, 
he made a requisition for the officers' horses, delivered up his own, and, finding one 
of them missing, he sent for the groom, who was keeping it for his master, and hes- 
itated to give it up. The General, growing impatient at this excess of zeal, darted a 
threatening look ; the whole stud was placed at the disjiosal of the sick ; and yet it 
is this very act of magnanimity which the perverseness of human nature has de- 
lighted in distorting. I feel ashamed to advert to so atrocious a calumny ; but the 
man whose simple assertion was found sufficient to give it currency has not been 
able to stifle it by his subsequent disavowal. I must, therefore, descend to the task 
of proving the absurdity of the charge. I do not wish to urge, as an argument, the 
absolute want of medicines to which the army was reduced by the rapacity of an 
apothecary ; nor the indignation felt by General Bonaparte when he learned that 
this wretch, instead of employing his camels to transport pharmaceutic preparations, 

1799. RETUim TO EOTPT. 219 

Our little army arrived at Cairo on the 14tli of June, 
after a painful and harassing march of twenty-five days. 
The heat, during the passage of the desert between El- 
Arish and Belbeis exceeded thirty- three degrees. On 
placing the bulb of the thermometer in the sand the 
mercury rose to forty-five degrees.^ The deceitful mirage 
was even more vexatious than in the plains of Bohahire'h. 
In spite of our experience an excessive thirst, added to a 
perfect illusion, made us goad on our wearied horses 
towards lakes which vanished at our approach, and left 
behind nothing but salt and arid sand. In two days my 
cloak was completely covered with salt, left on it after 
the evaporation of the moisture which held it in solution. 
Our horses, who ran eagerly to the brackish springs of 
the desert, perished in numbers, after travelling about a 
quarter of a league from the spot where they drank the 
deleterious fluid. 

had loaded them with provisions, xipon which he expected to derive a profit. The 
necessity to which we were driven of using roots as a substitute for opium is a fact 
known to the whole army. Supiwsiuf^, however, that opium had been as plentiful 
as it was scarce, and that General Bonaparte could have contemplated the expedi- 
ent attributed to him, where could there be found a man sufficiently determined in 
mind, or so lost to the feelincs of human nature, as to force open the jaws of fifty 
wretched men on the point of death, and thrust a deadly preparation down their 
throats? The most intrepid soldier turned pale at the sight of an infected person; 
the warmest heart dared not relievo a friend afflicted with the plaf^ue ; and is it to 
be credited, that bnital ferocity could execute what the noblest feelings recoiled at Î 
or that there should have been a creature savage or mad enough to sacrifice his own 
life in order to enjoy the satisfaction of hastening the death of fifty dying men, 
wholly unknown to him, and against whom he had no complaint to make ? Tho 
supposition is truly absurd, and only worthy of thooc who bring it forward in spite 
of the disavowal of its author." 

The above account is confirmed by tho statemcnts of M. Desgenettes, the physi- 
cian, General Andn'ossy, and M. d'Aure, who, as well as M. de Boumenne, were 
present on the occasion referred to. It is to be remarked, however, that Savary, 
then with Desaix in Upper Egyi)t, was not an eyc-wilness. Lanfrey (tome i. pp. 
404-407). with unusual fairness, points out that Sir Sidney Smith, who found some of 
the Infected still alive at .Jaffa after the departure of the French and who reports 
the murmurs of tho soldii-rs against their fletieral, says nothing of the iK)i8oniiiK. 
Lanfrey himself belirves the; most probabh- account to be that o|)i\im was put within 
the reach of the men left behind. It seems safest Uj lulieve that the i)roposal to 
give tho opium was discussed. tint never carried out. Fi-w soldiers would not, in tho 
circumsUmoeH, prefer the views of Napoleon on tho point to tho falso humanity of 
handing dying men U> the certain cruelty of Asiutlca, 

' IWaumr? 


Bonaparte preceded liis entry into the capital of Egypt 
by one of those lying bulletins whicli only imposed on 
fools. "I will bring with me," said he, "many prisoners 
and flags. I have razed the palace of the Djezzar and 
the ramparts of Acre — not a stone remains upon another. 
All the inhabitants have left the city by sea. Djezzar is 
severely wounded." 

I confess that I experienced a painful sensation in writ- 
ing, by his dictation, these official words, everyone of 
which was an imposition. Excited by all I had just wit- 
nessed, it was difficult for me to refrain from making 
some observation ; but his constant reply was, "My dear 
fellow, you are a simpleton : you do not understand this 
business." And he observed, w^hen signing the bulletin, 
that he would yet fill the world with admiration, and in- 
spire historians and poets. 

Our return to Cairo has been attributed to the insur- 
rections which broke out during the unfortunate expedi- 
tion into Syria. Nothing is more incorrect. The term 
insurrection cannot be joroperly applied to the foolish en- 
terprises of the angel El-Mahdi in the Bohahire'h, or to 
the less important disturbances in the Charkyeh. The 
reverses experienced before St. Jean d'Acre, the fear, or 
rather the prudent anticipation of a hostile landing, were 
sufficient motives, and the only ones, for our return to 
Egypt. What more could we do in Syria but lose men 
and time, neither of which the General had to spare ? 

1799. â21 



Murât and Mourad Bey at the Natron Lakes — Bonaparte's departure for 
the Pyramids — Sudden appearance of an Arab messenger — News of 
the landing of the Turks at Aboukir — Bonaparte marches against 
them — Tliey are immediately attacked and destroyed in the battle of 
Aboukir — Interchange of communication with the English — Sudden 
determination to return to Europe — Outfit of two frigates — Bona- 
parte's dissimulation — His pretended journey to the Delta — Generous 
behaviour of Lanusse — Bonaparte's artifice — His bad treatment of 
General Kléber. 

Bonaparte liacl hardly set foot in Cairo when lie was in- 
formed that the brave and indefatigable Mourad Bey was 
descending by the Fayoum, in order to form a junction 
with reinforcements which had been for some time past 
collected in the Bohahire'h. In all probability this move- 
ment of Mourad Boy was the result of news he had re- 
ceived respecting plans formed at Constantinople, and the 
landing which took place a short time after in the roads of 
Al)oukir. INIourad had selected the Natron Lakes for his 
])la(;e of rendezvous. To these lak(3s Murat was despatched. 
The Bey no sooner got notice of Murat's presence than he 
determined to retread ind to proceed by the desert to 
Gizeh and the g. eat i'yramids. I certainly never heard, 
until I returned to France, that Mourad had ascended to 
the summit of tho great i^yiamid for the purpose of pass- 
ing his time in contemp luting Cairo ! 

Napoleon said at St. Helena that IMiirat might have 
taken ISIourad Bey iiad i]\c lalicr remained f(.)ur-and-twonty 
boui's longer in the Nati-on Livkea, Now tho fact is, that 


as soon as the Bey heard of Murat's arrival he was off. The 
Aj.'abian spies were far more serviceable to our enemies 
than to us ; we had not, indeed, a single friend in Egypt. 
Mourad Bey, on being informed by the Arabs, who acted 
as couriers for him, that General Desaix was despatching 
a column from the south of Egypt against him, that the 
General-in-Chief was also about to follow his footsteps 
along the frontier of Gizeh, and that the Natron Lakes 
and the Bohahire'h were occupied by forces superior to 
his own, retired into Fayoum. 

Bonaparte attached great importance to the destruction 
of Mourad, whom he looked upon as the bravest, the most 
active, and most dangerous of his enemies in Egypt. As 
all accounts concurred in stating that Mourad, supported 
by the Arabs, was hovering about the skirts of the desert 
of the province of Gizeh, Bonaparte proceeded to the 
Pyramids, there to direct different corps against that able 
and dangerous partisan. He, indeed, reckoned him so 
redoubtable that he wrote to Murat, saying he wished 
fortune might reserve for him the honour of putting the 
seal on the conquest of Egypt b}^ the destruction of this 

On the 14th of July Bonaparte left Cairo for the P^'ra- 
mids. He intended spending three or four days in ex- 
amining the ruins of the ancient necropolis of Memj^his ; 
but he was suddenly obliged to alter his plan. This jour- 
ney to the Pyramids, occasioned by the course of war, has 
given an opportunity for the invention of a little piece of 
romance. Some ingenious j^eople have related that Bona- 
parte gave audiences to the mufti and ulemas, and that on 
entering one of the great Pyramids he cried out, "Glory- 
to Allah ! God only is God, and Mahomet is his prophet ! " 
Now the fact is, that Bonaparte never even entered the 
great Pyramid. He never had any thought of entering 
it. I certainly should have accompanied him had he done 
fco, for I never quitted his side a single moment in the 


desert. He caused some persons to enter into one of the 
great Pyramids while he remained outside, and received 
from them, on their return, an account of what they had 
seen. In other words, they informed him there was 
nothing to be seen ! 

On the evening of the 15th of July, while we were tak- 
ing a walk, we perceived, on the road leading from 
Alexandria, an Arab riding up to us in all haste. He 
brought to the General-in-Chief a despatch from General 
Marmont, who was entrusted with the command of Alex- 
andria, and who had conducted himself so well, especially 
during the dreadful ravages of the plague, that he had 
gained the unqualified approbation of Bonaparte. The 
Turks had landed on the 11th of July at Aboukir under 
the escort and protection of English ships of war. The 
news of the landing of from fifteen to sixteen thousand 
men did not surprise Bonaparte, who had for some time 
expected it. It was not so, however, with the generals 
most in his favour, whose apprehensions, for reasons which 
may be conjectured, ho had endeavoured to calm. He 
had even written to Marmont, who, being in the most ex- 
posed situation, had the more reason to be vigilant, in 
these terms : 

Tlie army which was to havo appeared before Alexandria, and 
which loft Constantinople on the 1st of the Ramadhan, has been 
destroyed under the walls of Acre. If, however, that mad English- 
man (Smith) lias embarked the remains of that army in order to 
convey tliem to Aboukir, I do not believe there can be more tliau 
2000 men. 

He wrote in the following strain to General Dugua, who 
had the command of Cairo : 

Tlio English Commander, whohas summoned Damiotta, is a mad- 
man. Th«; combined army they speak of lias been destroyed befof^ 
Acre, where it arrived u fortnight before we left that plaoo. 


As soon as he arrived at Cairo, in a letter he despatched 
to Desaix, he said : 

The time has now arrived when disembarkations have become 
practicable. I shall lose no time in getting ready. The probabili- 
ties, however, are, that none will take place this year. 

What other language could he hold, when he had pro- 
claimed, immediately after the raising of the siege of Acre, 
that he had destroyed those 15,000 men who two months 
after landed at Aboutir ? 

No sooner had Bonaparte perused the contents of Mar- 
mont's letter than he retired into his tent and dictated to 
me, until three in the morning, his orders for the depart- 
ure of the troops, and for the routes he wished to be 
pursued during his absence by the troops who should re- 
main in the interior. At this moment I observed in him 
the development of that vigorous character of mind which 
was excited by obstacles until it overcame them, that 
celerity of thought which foresaw everything. He w\as all 
action, and never for a moment hesitated. On the 16th 
of July, at four in the morning, he was on horseback and 
the army in full march. I cannot help doing justice to 
the presence of mind, promptitude of decision, and rapid- 
ity of execution which at this period of his life never de- 
serted him on great occasions. 

AVe reached Ouardan, to the north of Gizeh, on the 
evening of the IGtli ; on the 19th we arrived at Eahma- 
hanie'h, and on the 23d at Alexandria, where every prep- 
aration was made for that memorable battle which, though 
it did not repair the immense losses and fatal consequences 
of the naval conflict of the same name, will always recall 
to the memory of Frenchmen one of the most brilliant 
achievements of their arms.* 

• Ab M. de Bonrricnne givRS no dctaiis of the battle, the following extract from 
the Dtio de Rovigo'fi Memoim, totne i. p. 167, will supply the deflcicncy : — 

" General Bonaparte left Cairo in the utmost haste to place himsoif at the head of 


After the battle, which took place on the 25th of July, 
Bonaparte sent a flag of truce on board the English 
Admiral's ship. Our intercourse was full of politeness, 
such as might be expected in the communications of the 
people of two civilised nations. The English Admiral 
gave the flag of truce some presents in exchange for some 
we sent, and likewise a copy of the French Gazette of Frank- 
fort, dated 10th of June 1799. For ten months we had re- 
ceived no news from France. Bonaparte glanced over this 
journal with an eagerness which may easily be conceived.' 

the troops which he had ordered to quit their cantonments and march down to the 

" Whilst the General was making these arrangements and coming in person from 
Cairo, the troops on board the Turkish fleet had effected a landing and taken posses- 
sion of the fort of Aboukir, and of a redoubt placed behind the village of that name 
which ought to have been put into a state ot defence six months before, but had been 
completely neglected. 

"The Turks had nearly destroyed the weak garrisons that occupied those two mil- 
itary points when General Marraont (who commanded at Alexandria) came to their 
relief. This general, seeing the two posts in the power of the Turks, returned to 
shut himself up in Alexandria, where he would probably have been blockaded by the 
Turkish army had it not been for the arrival of General Bonaparte with his forces, 
who was very angry when he saw that the fort and redoubt had been taken ; but he 
did not blame ilarmont for retreating to Alexandria with the forces at his disposal. 

" General Bonaparte arrived at midnight with his guides and the remaining part 
of his army, and ordered the Turks to be attacked the ncxtmorning. In this battle, 
as in the preceding ones, the attack, thecncounterj and the rout were occurrences of a 
moment, and the rcFUlt of a single movement on the j)art of our troops. The wholo 
Turkish army plunged into the sea to regain its ships, leaving behind them every- 
thing they had brought on shore. 

" Whilst this event was occurring on the seashore a pasha had left the field of 
battle with a corjjs of about 3000 men in order to throw himself into the fort of 
Aboukir. They soon felt the extremities of thirst, which compelled them, after the 
lapse of a few days, to surrender unconditionally to General Menou, who was left to 
close the operations connected with the recently defeated Turkish arniy."' 

' Th(! French, on their return from St. Jean d'Acre were totally ignorant of all that 
had taken place in Europe for several nionlhs. Napoleon, eager to obtain intelligence, 
Rent a flag of truce on board the Turkish admirars «hip, under the pretence of treat- 
ing for the ransom of the prisoners taken at Aboukir, not doubting but the envoy 
would be Ht<)pp(!(l by Sir Sidney Smith, who carefully prevented all direct conuiumi- 
cution between the French and the Turks. Accordingly the French Hag of truco 
received directions from Sir Sidney to go on board his ship. Ho oxperienoed tho 
handHomuKt treatment; and the llngliHh commander having, nniong other things, 
acorrtained that, the diKa>-t,erH of Italy were <iuit«! unknown to Xupoleon, indulged m 
th<' malicidUH plitasure of Kcndinn him a llle of nc\VHj>nperH. Napoleon six-nt tho 
whole night in his tent peruHing the papcis; and he nu\w. to the dri<'rMiinution of 
Imuiediati'ly prmvicdlng to lùirope to ropjiir the diwiKfrrs of Franco ; and If i>oHaible, 
to save her front <lrHtruction {Mhnorial de .Suinta JUlèuc). 

Vol. I.— 10 


" Heavens ! " said lie to me, " 1113' presentiment is veri- 
fied : the fools have lost Italy. All the fruits of our vic- 
tories are gone ! I must leave Egypt ! " 

He sent for Berthier, to whom he communicated the 
news, adding that things were going on very badly in 
France — that he wished to return home — that he (Berthier) 
should go along with him, and that, for the present, only 
he, Gantheaume, and I were in the secret. He recom- 
mended Berthier to be prudent, not to betray any symp- 
toms of joy, nor to purchase or sell anything, and concluded 
by assuring him that he depended on him. ''lean answer," 
said he, " for myself and for Bourrienne." Berthier 
promised to be secret, and he kept his word. He had 
had enough of Egyj^t, and he so ardently longed to return to 
France, that there was little reason to fear he would dis- 
appoint himself by any indiscretion. 

Gantheaume arrived, and Bonaparte gave him orders to 
fit out the two frigates, the Midron and the Carrcre, and 
the two small vessels, the Revanche and the Fortune, with 
a two months' supply of provisions for from four to five 
hundred men. He enjoined his secrecy as to the object 
of these preparations, and desired him to act with such 
circumspection that the English cruisers might have no 
knowledge of what was going on. He afterwards arranged 
with Gantheaume the course he wished to take. No 
details escaped his attention. 

Bonaparte concealed his preparations with much care, 
but still some vague rumours crept abroad. General 
Dugua, the commandant of Cairo, whom he had just left 
for the purpose of embarking, wrote to him on the 18th 
of August to the following effect : 

I liave this moment heard that it is reported at the Institute you 
are about to return to France, taking with you Monge, BertlioUet, 
Berthier, Lannes, and Murat. This news has spread like lightning 
through the city, and I should not be at all surprised if it produce 
an unfavourable effect, which, however, I hope you will obviate. 

1799. HOMEWARD BOUND. 227 

Bonaparte embarked five days after the receipt of 
Dugua's letter, and, as may be supposed, without replying 
to it. 

On the 18th of August he wrote to the divan of Cairo as 
follows : 

I set out to-morrow for Menouf , whence I intend to make various 
excursions in the Delta, in order that I may myself witness the acts 
of oppression which are committed there, and acquire some know- 
ledge of the people. 

He told the army but half the truth : 

The news from Europe (said he) has determined me to proceed 
to France. I leave the command of the army to General Kléber. 
The army shall hear from me forthwith. At present I can say no 
more. It costs me much pain to quit troops to whom I am so 
strongly attached. But my absence will be but temporary, and the 
general I leave iu command has the confidence of the Government 
as well as mine. 

I have now shown the true cause of General Bonaparte's 
departure for Europe. This circumstance, in itself per- 
fectly natural, has been the subject of the most ridiculous 
conjectures to those who always wish to assign extra- 
ordinary causes for simple events. There is no truth 
whatever in the assertion of his having planned his de- 
parture before the battle of Aboukir. Such an idea never 
crossed his mind. He had no thought whatever of his de- 
parture for Franco when he made the journey to the 
Pyraînids, nor even when he received the news of the 
landing of the Aîiglo-Turkisli force. 

At tlie end of December 1798 Bonaparte thus wrote to 
the Directory : "We arc without any news from France. 
No courier has arrived since the month of June." 

Some writers have stated that wo received news by the 
way of Tunis, Algiers, or Morocco ; but there is no contra- 
dicting a positive fact. At that period I had been with 
Bouapai'te more than two years, and during that time not 


a single despatch on any occasion arrived of tlie contents 
of which I was ignorant. How then should the news 
alluded to have escaped me ? ^ 

Almost all those who endeavour to avert from Bonaparte 
the reproach of desertion quote a letter from the Directory, 
dated the 26th of May 1799. This letter may certainly 
have been written, but it never reached its destination. 
Why then should it be put upon record ? 

The circumstance I have stated above determined the 
resolution of Bonaparte, and made him look upon Egypt 
as an exhausted field of glory, which it was high time he 
had quitted, to play another part in France. On his de- 
parture from Europe Bonaparte felt that his reputation 
was tottering. He wished to do something to raise up his 
glory, and to fix upon him the attention of the world. 
This object he had in great part accomplished ; for, in 
spite of serious disasters, the French flag waved over the 
cataracts of the Nile and the ruins of Memphis, and the 

1 Details on the question of the corref^pondence of Napoleon with France while he 
was in Egypt will be found in Colonel lung's work, Lucien Bo7iaparte (Paris, Char- 
pentier, 1SS2), tome i. pp. 251-274. It seems most probable that Napoleon was in 
occasional communication with his family and with some of the Directors by way of 
Tunis and Tripoli. It would not be his interest to let his army or perhaps even 
Bourriennc know of the disasters in Italy till he found that they were sure to hear 
of them through the English. This would cx])lain his affected ignorance till such a 
late date. On the 11th of April Barras received a despatch by which Napoleon stated 
his intention of returning to France if the news brought by Ilamclin was confirmed. 
On the 2Gth of May 1799 three of the Directors, Barras, Rewbell, and La RevcillCre- 
Lepeaux, wrote to Napoleon that Admiral Bruix had been ordered to attempt every 
means of bringing back hia army. On the 15th of July Napoleon seems to have 
received this and other letters. On the 20th of July he warns Admiral Gantheaume 
to be ready to start. On the 11th of September the Directors formally approved the 
recall of the army from Egypt. Thus at the tine Napoleon landed in France (on the 
8th October), his intended return had been long known to and approved by the 
majority of the Directors, and had at last been formally ordered by the Directory. At 
the most he anticipated the order. He cannot be said to have deserted his post. 
Lanfrey (tome i. p. 411) remarks that the existence and receipt of the letter from 
Josepii denied by Bonrrienne is proved by Miot (the commissary, the brother of 
Miot de Melito) and by .loseph himself. Talhyrand thanks the French Consul at 
Tripoli for sending news from Egypt, and for letting Bonaparte know what pas.sed in 
Europe. See also Jiaguse (Marmnnt), tome i. p. 441. writing on 24th December 
1798 : "I have found an Arab of whom I am sure, and who shall start to-morrow 
for Dorae. . . . This means can be used to send a letter to Tripoli, for boats 
often go there." 


battles of the Pyramids and Aboukir were calculated in 
no small degree to dazzle the imagination. Cairo and 
Alexandria too were ours. Finding that the glory of his 
arms no longer supported the feeble power of the Directory, 
he was anxious to see whether he could not share it, or 
appropriate it to himself. 

A great deal has been said about letters and secret com- 
munications from the Directory, but Bonaparte needed no 
such thing. He could do what he pleased : there was no 
power to check him ; such had been the nature of his 
arrangements on leaving France. He followed only the 
dictates of his own will, and probably, had not the fleet 
been destroyed, he would have departed from Egypt much 
sooner. To will and to do were with him one and the same 
thing. The latitude he enjoyed was the result of his ver- 
bal agreement with the Directory, whose instructions and 
plans he did not wish should impede his operations. 

Bonaparte left Alexandria on the 5th of August, and on 
the 10th arrived at Cairo. He at first circulated the re- 
port of a journey to Upper Egypt. This seemed so much 
the more reasonable, as he had really entertained that de- 
sign before he went to the Pyramids, and the fact was 
known to the army and the inhabitants of Cairo. Up to 
this time our secret had been studiously kept. However, 
General Lanusse, the commandant at Menouf, where we 
arrived on the 20th of August, suspected it. "You are 
going to France," said he to me. My negative reply con- 
firmed his suspicion. This almost induced me to believe 
the General-in-Chief had been the first to make the dis- 
closure. General Lanusse, though he envied our good 
fortune, made no complaints. He expressed his sincere 
wishes for our prosperous voyage, but never oj^ened his 
mouth on the subject to any one. 

On the 21st of August we readied the wells of Birkett. 
Tlie Arabs had rendered tlie water unfit for use, but the 
Gouoral-iu-Chief was resolved to (juench his thirst, and for 


this purpose squeezed tlie juice of several lemons into a 
glass of the water ; but he could not swallow it without 
holding his nose and exhibiting strong feelings of disgust. 

The next day we reached Alexandria, where the General 
informed all those, who had accompanied him from Cairo 
that France was their destination. At this announcement 
joy was pictured in ever}'' countenance. 

General Klcber, to whose command Bonaparte had re- 
signed the army, was invited to come from Damietta to 
Kosetta to confer with the General-in-Chief on affairs of 
extreme importance. Bonaparte, in making an ap^Doint- 
ment which he never intended to keep, hoped to escape 
the unwelcome freedom of Kleber's reproaches. He after- 
wards wrote to him all he had to sa}^ ; and the cause he 
assigned for not keeping his appointment was, that his 
fear of being observed by the English cruisers had forced 
him to depart three days earlier than he intended. But 
when he wrote Bonaparte well knew that he would be at 
sea before Kléber could receive his letter. Kleber, in his 
letter to the Director3% complained bitterly of this decep- 
tion. The singular fate that befell this letter will be 
seen by and by. 

1799. 231 



Our departure from Egypt— Nocturnal embarkation — M. Farseval Grand- 
maison — Our course — Adverse winds — Fear of the English — Favour- 
able weather — Vingt-et-un — Chess — We land at Ajaccio — Bonaparte's 
pretended relations — Family domains — Want of money — Battle of Novi 
— Death of Joubert — Visionary schemes — Purchase of a boat — Depart- 
ure from Corsica — The English squadron — Our escape — The roads of 
Frejus — Our landing in France — The plague or the Austrians — Joy of 
the people — The sanitary laws — Bonaparte falsely accused. 

We were now to return to our country — again to cross 
the sea, to us so pregnant with danger — Ca?sar and his for- 
tune were once more to embark. But Coesar was not now 
advancing to the East to add Egypt to the conquests of 
the RepubUc. He was revolving in his mind vast schemes, 
unawed by the idea of venturing evei^thing to change in 
his own favour the Government for which he had fought. 
The hope of conquering tlio most celebrated country of the 
East no longer excited the imagination, as on our depart- 
ure from France. Our last visionary dream had vanished 
before the walls of St. Jean d'Acre, and we were leaving 
on the burning sands of Egypt most of our companions in 
arms. An inconceivable destiny seemed to urge us on, 
and we were obliged to obey its decrees. 

On the 2Iid of August ' we embarked on board two 
frigates, the Muii-oa^ and Garri^rr. Our number was 
between four and five hundred. Such was our squadron, 
and such the formidable army with which Bonaparte had 
resolved, as he wrote to the divan of Cairo, '* to anuihilato 

' It waH neither in June nor July, iih Ktatod by the Duo do Uoviffo. — liourrleitiie, 
' NamcU after Donnpartc'H aide de camp killed la the lUvUiui cauipuigij. 


all liis enemies." This boasting might impose on those 
who did not see the real state of things ; but what were 
we to think of it ? What Bonaparte himself thought the 
day after. 

The night was dark when we embarked in the frigates 
which lay at a considerable distance from the port of 
Alexandria ; but by the faint light of the stars we per- 
ceived a corvette, which api:)eared to be observing our 
silent nocturnal embarkation.' 

Next morning, just as we were on the point of setting 
sail, we saw coming from the port of Alexandria a boat, 
on board of which was M. Parseval Grandmaison. This 
excellent man, who was beloved by all of us, was not in- 
cluded among the persons whose return to France had 
been determined by the General-in-Chief. In his anxiety 
to get off Bonaparte would not hear of taking him on 
board. It will readily be conceived how urgent were the 
entreaties of Parseval ; but he would have sued in vain 
had not Gantheaume, Monge, BerthoUet, and I interceded 
for him. With some difficulty we overcame Bonaparte's 
resistance, and our colleague of the Egyptian Institute got 
on board after the wind had filled our sails. 

It has been erroneously said that Admiral Gantheaume 
had full control of the frigates, as if any one could com- 
mand when Bonaparte was present. On the contrary, 
Bonaparte declared to the admiral, in my hearing, that he 
would not take the ordinary course and get into the oj^eu 

* The horses of the escort had been left to nin loose on the beach, and all was 
perfect stillness In Alexandria, when the advanced posts of the town were alarmed 
by the wild galloping of horses, which from a natural instinct, were returning to 
Alexandria through the desert. The picket ran to arms on eeeing horses ready 
saddled and bridled, which were soon discovered to belong to the regiment of guides. 
They at first thought that a misfortune had happened to some deU\chment in its 
pursuit of the Arabs. With these horses came also those of the generals who had 
embarked with General Bonaparte ; so that Alexandria was for a time in con- 
siderable alarm. The cavalry was ordered to proceed in all haste in the direction 
whence the horses came, and every one was giving himself up to the most gloomy con- 
jectures, when the cavalry returned to the city with the Turkish groom, who was 
bringing back General Bonaparte's horse to Alexandria {ilemoirs oj the Due dé 
Rovigo, tomo i. p. 182), 


sea. " Keep close along the coast of the Mediterranean," 
said he, " on the African side, until you get south of Sar- 
dinia. I have here a handful of brave fellows and a few 
pieces of artillery ; if the English should appear I will run 
ashore, and with my party make my way by land to Oran, 
Tunis, or some other port, whence we may find an oppor- 
tunity of getting home." This was his irrevocable de- 

For twenty-one days adverse winds, blowing from west 
or north-west, drove us continually on the coast of Syria, 
or in the direction of Alexandria. At one time it was 
even proposed that we should again put into the port ; 
but Bonaparte declared he would rather brave every dan- 
ger than do so. During the day we tacked to a certain 
distance northward, and in the evening we stood towards 
Africa until we came within sight of the coast. Finally, 
after no less than twenty-one days of impatience and dis- 
appointment, a favourable east wind earned us past that 
point of Africa on which Carthage formerly stood, and 
we soon doubled Sardinia. We kept very near the west- 
ern coast of that island, where Bonaparte had determined 
to land in case of our falling in with the English squadron. 
From thence his plan was to reach Corsica, and there to 
await a favourable opportunity of returning to France. 

Everything had contributed to render our voyage dull 
and monotonous ; and, besides, we were not entirely mth- 
out uneasiness as to the steps which might be taken by 
the Directory, for it was certain that the publication of 
the intercepted correspondence must have occasioned 
many unpleasant disclosures. Bonaparte used often to 
walk on deck to superintend the execution of his orders. 
The smallest sail that appeared in view excited his alarm. 
The fear of falling into the hands of tlie English never for- 
sook liira. Tiiat was wliat ho dreaded most of all, and 
yet, at a subsequent period, ho trusted to the generosity 
of his enemies. 


However, in spite of our well-founded alarm, tliere were 
some moments in which we sought to amuse ourselves, or, 
to use a common expression, to kill time. Cards afforded 
us a source of recreation, and even this frivolous amuse- 
ment served to develop the character of Bonaparte. In 
general he was not fond of cai'ds ; but if he did play, 
vingt-et-un was his favourite game, because it is more 
rapid than many others, and because, in short, it afforded 
him an opportunity of cheating. For example, he would 
ask for a card ; if it proved a bad one he would say noth- 
ing, but lay it down on the table and wait till the dealer 
had di'awn his. If the dealer produced a good card, then 
Bonaparte would throw aside his hand, without showing it, 
and give up his stake. If, on the contrary, the dealer's 
card made him exceed twenty-one, Bonaparte also threw 
his cards aside without showing them, and asked for the 
payment of his stake. He was much diverted by these 
little tricks, especially when they were played off unde- 
tected ; and I confess that even then we were courtiers 
enough to humour him, and wink at his cheating. I 
must, however, mention that he never appropriated to 
himself the fruit of these little dishonesties, for at the 
end of the game he gave up all his winnings, and they 
were equally divided. Gain, as may readily be supposed, 
was not his object ; but he always expected that fortune 
would grant him an ace or a ten at the right moment 
with the same confidence with which he looked for fine 
weather on the day of battle. If he were disappointed he 
wished nobody to know it. 

Bonaparte also played at chess, but very seldom, because 
he was only a third-rate player, and he did not like to be 
beaten at that game, which, I know not why, is said to 
bear a resemblance to the grand game of war. At this 
latter game Bonaparte certainly feared no adversary. 
This reminds me that when we were leaving Passeriano 
he announced his intention of passing through Mantua. 


He was told that the commandant of that town, I believe 
General Beauvoir, was a great chess-player, and he ex- 
pressed a wish to play a game with him. General Beau- 
voir asked him to point out any particular pawn with 
which he would be checkmated ; adding, that if the pawn 
were taken, he, Bonaparte, should be declared the winner. 
Bonaparte pointed out the last pawn on the left of hia 
adversary. A mark was put upon it, and it turned out 
that he actually was checkmated with that very pawn. 
Bonaparte was not very well pleased at this. He liked to 
play with me because, though rather a better player than 
himself, I was not always able to beat him. As soon as a 
game was decided in his favour he declined playing any 
longer, preferring to rest on his laurels. 

The favourable wind which had constantly prevailed 
after the first twenty days of our voyage still continued 
while we kept along the coast of Sardinia ; but after we 
had passed that island the wind again blew violently from 
the west, and on the 1st of October we were forced to 
enter the Gulf of Ajaccio. We sailed again next day ; 
but we found it impossible to work our way out of the 
gulf. We were therefore obliged to put into the port and 
land at Ajaccio. Adverse winds obliged us to remain 
there until the 7th of October. It may readily be 
imagined how much this delay annoyed Bonaparte. He 
sometimes expressed his impatience, as if he could en- 
force the obedience of the elements as well as of men. 
He was losing time, and time was everything to him. 

There was one circumstance which seemed to annoy him 
as much as any of his more serious vexations. "What 
will become of me," said lie, "if the EngHsh, who are 
cruising licreabout, slioiild learn that I have landed in 
Corsica V I shall bo forced to stay here. That I could 
never endure. I have; a torrent of relations })ouring upon 
mo." His great reputation had certainly prodigiously 
augmented the number of his family. Ho was over- 


whelmed with visits, congratulations, and requests. The 
whole town was in a commotion. Every one of its in- 
habitants wished to claim him as their cousin ; and from 
the prodigious number of his pretended godsons and god- 
daughters, it might have been supposed that he had held 
one-fourth of the children of Ajaccio at the baptismal font. 

Bonaparte frequently walked with us in the neighbour- 
hood of Ajaccio ; and when in all the plenitude of his 
power he did not count his crowns vnih. greater pleasure 
than he evinced in pointing out to us the little domains of 
his ancestors. 

While we were at Ajaccio M. Fesch * gave Bonaparte 
French money in exchange for a number of Turkish 
sequins, amounting in value to 17,000 francs. This sum 
was all that the General brought with him from Egypt. I 
mention this fact because he was unjustly calumniated in 
letters written after his departure, and which were inter- 
cepted and published by the English. I ought also to add, 
that as he would never for his own private use resort to 
the money-chest of the armj^ the contents of which were, 
indeed, never half sufficient to defra}^ the necessary ex- 
penses, he several times drew on Genoa, through M. 
James, and on the funds he possessed in the house of 
Claiy, 15,000, 25,000, and up to 33,000 francs.' I can 
bear witness that in Egypt I never saw him touch any 
money beyond his j^ay ; and that he left the country 
poorer than he had entered it is a fact that cannot be 
denied. In his notes on Egypt it appears that in one year 
12,600,000 francs were received. In this sum were in- 

> Joseph FeBch (1 763-1 8.'39), son of Napoleon's maternal prandmother by her 
second marriafjo with Captain Francis Fesch, Archdeacon, 1792, Commissary in War 
Department, 17i>3 ; re-entered clerical orders, 1799 : Bishop, 1802 ; Archbishop of 
Lyons, 1802 ; Cardinal, 1803 ; Grand Almoner under the Empire ; nominated Arch- 
bishop of Paris, but never held that see ; Coadjutor to Archbishop of Ratisboa 
(Prince Primate\ I80f» : retired to Rome. 181.5. 

2 Joseph Bonaparte says that his brother had no funds with the house of Clary 
{Erreurs, tome i. p. 248). It will be remembered that Joseph had married a 
daughter of M. Clary. 


eluded at least 2,000,000 of contributions, which were 
levied at the expense of many decapitations. Bonaparte 
was fourteen months in Egypt, and he is said to have 
brought away with him 20,000,000. Calumny may be 
very gratifying to certain persons, but they should at least 
give it a colouring of probability. The fact is, that Bona- 
parte had scarcely enough to maintain himself at Ajaccio 
and to defray our posting expenses to Paris. 

On our arrival at Ajaccio we learnt the death of Joubert, 
and the loss of the battle of Novi, which was fought on 
the 15th of August. Bonaparte was tormented by 
anxiety ; he was in a state of utter uncertainty as to the 
future. From the time we left Alexandria till our arrival 
in Corsica he had frequently talked of what he should do 
during the quarantine, which he supposed he would be 
required to observe on reaching Toulon, the port at which 
he had determined to land. 

Even then he cherished some illusions respecting the 
state of affairs ; and he often said to me, " But for that 
confounded quarantine, I would hasten ashore, and place 
myself at the head of the army of Italy. All is not over ; 
and I am sure that there is not a general who would re- 
fuse me the command. The news of a victory gained by 
me would reach Paris as soon as the battle of Aboukir ; 
that, indeed, would be excellent." 

In Corsica his language was very different. When he 
was informed of our reverses, and saw the full extent of 
the evil, he was for a moment overwhelmed. His grand 
projects then gave way to the consideration of matters of 
minor import, and he thought about his detention in the 
Lazaretto of Toulon. Ho spoke of ihc Directory, of in- 
trigues, and of what would bo said of him. Ho accounted 
his enemies those who envied him, and tlioso who could 
not be reconciled to his gloi-y and the inlhion(;e of his 
name. Amidst all tlioso anxieties Bonaparte was out- 
wardly calm, though he was moody and rellcctivc. 


Providing against every chance of danger, he had pur- 
chased at Ajaccio a large launch which was intended to 
be towed by the Muiron, and it was manned by twelve of 
the best sailors the island could furnish. His resolution 
was, in case of inevitable danger, to jump into this boat 
and get ashore. This precaution had well-nigh proved 
useful. * 

After leaving the Gulf of Ajaccio the voyage was pros- 
perous and undisturbed for one day ; but on the second 
day, just at sunset, an Enghsh squadron of fourteen sail 
hove in sight. The English, having advantage of the 
light, which we had in our faces, saw us better than we 
could see them. They recognised our two frigates as 
Venetian built ; but, luckily for us, night came on, for we 
were not far apart. We saw the signals of the English 
for a long time, and heard the report of the guns more 
and more to oui' left, and we thought it was the intention 
of the cruisers to intercept us on the south-east. Under 
these circumstances Bonaparte had reason to thank for- 
tune ; for it is very evident that had the Enghsh suspected 
our two frigates of coming from the East and going to 
France, they would have shut us out from land by running 
between us and it, which to them was very easy. Prob- 
ably they took us for a convoy of provisions going from 
Toulon to Genoa ; and it was to this eri'or and the dark- 
ness that we were indebted for escaping with no worse 
consequence than a fright.^ 

' Sir Walter Scott, at the commencement of his Life of Napoleon, says thai 
Bonaparte did not see his native city after 1793. Probably to avoid contradicting 
himself, the Scottish historian observes that Bonaparte was near Ajaccio on his 
return from Egypt. He spent eight days there. — Boiirricnne. 

' Here Bourrienne says in a note, " Where did Sir Walter Scott learn that we 
were neither seen nor recognised T We were not recognised, but certainly seen," 
This Ib corroborated by the testimony of the Due de Rovigo, who, in his Memoirs, 
Bays, " I have met offlcers of the English navy who assured me that the two frigates 
had been seen, but were considered by the Admiral to belong to his squadron, as 
they steered their course towards him ; and as he knew we had only one frigate in tha 
Meditcrraacan, and one in Toulon harbour, he was far from supposing that tha 
frigates which he had descried could have General Bonaparte on board " {Havary, 
l»WMÏ. p. *À'i^). 


During the remainder of the night the utmost agitation 
prevailed on board the Muirori. Gantheaume especially 
was in a state of anxiety which it is impossible to de- 
scribe, and which it was painful to witness : he was quite 
beside himself, for a disaster appeared inevitable. He 
proposed to return to Corsica. " No, no ! " rephed Bona- 
parte imperiously. " No ! Spread all sail ! Every man 
at his post ! To the north-west ! To the north-west ! " 
This order saved us ; and I am enabled to afiSrm that in 
the midst of almost general alarm Bonaparte was solely 
occupied in giving orders. The rapidity of his judgment 
seemed to grow in the face of danger. The remembrance 
of that night will never be effaced from my mind. The 
hours lingered on ; and none of us could guess upon 
what new dangers the morrow's sun would shine. 

However, Bonaparte's resolution was taken : his orders 
were given, his arrangements made. During the evening 
he had resolved upon throwing himself into the long- 
boat ; he had already fixed on the persons who were to 
share his fate, and had already named to me the papers 
which he thought it most important to save. Happily 
our terrors were vain and our arrangements useless. By 
the first rays of the sun we discovered the English fleet 
sailing to the north-east, and we stood for the wished-for 
coast of France. 

The 8th of October, at eight in the morning, we entered 
the roads of Frejus. The sailors not having recognised 
the coast during the night, we did not know where we 
were. There was, at first, some hesitation whether we 
should advance. We were by no means expected, and did 
not know how to answer the signals, which had been 
changod during our absence. Some guns were even fired 
upon us by the batteries on tlie coast ; but our bold entry 
into the roads, the crowd upon the decks of the two 
frigates, and our signs of joy, speed ily banishcd all doubt 
of our being friends. Wo were in the port, and approach- 


ing the landing-place, when the rumour spread that 
Bonaparte was on board one of the frigates. In an 
instant the sea was covered with boats. In vain we begged 
them to keep at a distance ; we were carried ashore, and 
when we told the crowd, both of men and women who 
were pressing about us, the risk they ran, they all ex- 
claimed, " We prefer the plague to the Austrians ! " 

What were our feelings when we again set foot on the 
soil of France I will not attempt to describe. Our escape 
from the dangers that threatened us seemed almost 
miraculous. We had lost twenty days at the beginning of 
our voyage, and at its close we had been almost taken by 
an English squadron. Under these circumstances, how 
rapturously we inhaled the balmy air of Provence ! 
Such was our joy, that we were scarcely sensible of the 
disheartening news which arrived from all quarters. At 
the first moment of our arrival, by a spontaneous impulse, 
we all repeated, with tears in our eyes, the beautiful lines 
which Voltaire has put into the mouth of the exile of 

Bonaparte has been reproached with having violated the 
sanitary laws ; but, after what I have already stated re- 
specting his intentions, I presume there can remain no 
doubt of the falsehood of this accusation. All the blame 
must rest with the inhabitants of Frejus, who on this oc- 
casion found the law of necessity more imperious than the 
sanitary laws. Yet when it is considered that four or five 
hundred persons, and a quantity of effects, were landed 
from Alexandria, where the plague had been raging during 
the summer, it is almost a miracle that France, and indeed 
Europe, escaped the scourge. 

1799. 241 



Effect produced by Bonaparte's return — His justification — Melancholy 
letter to my wife — Bonaparte's intended dinner at Sens — Louis Bona- 
parte and Josephine — He changes his intended route — Melancholy 
situation of the provinces — Necessity of a chan?;e — Bonaparte's am- 
bitious views — Influence of popular applause — Arrival in Paris — His 
reception of Josephine— Their reconciliation — Bonaparte's visit to the 
Directory — His contemptuous treatment of Sicyos. 

The effect produced iu France and throughout Europe by 
the mere intelligence of Bonaparte's return is well known. 
I shall not yet speak of the vast train of consequences 
which that event entailed. I must, however, notice some 
accusations which were brought against him from the 
time of our landing to the 9th of November. He was re- 
proached for having left Egypt, and it was alleged that 
his departure was the result of long premeditation. But 
I, who was constantly with him, am enabled positively to 
affirm that his return to France was merely the effect of a 
sudden resolution. Of this the following fact is in itself 
sufficient evidence. 

While wo were at Cairo, a few days before we heard of 
the landing of the Anglo-Turkish fleet, and at the moment 
when we wore on the point of setting off to encamp at the 
Pyramids, Bonaparte despatched a courier to Franco. I 
took advantage of this opj)ortunity to write to my wife. I 
almost bade her an eternal adieu. My letter breathed ex- 
pressions of grief such as I liad not before evinced. I said, 
among other things, tliat wo know not when or how it 
would be possible for us to return to France. If Bona- 
VOL. I. — 10 


parte had then entertained any thought of a speedy return 
I must have known it, and in that case I should not cer- 
tainly have distressed my family by a desponding letter, 
when I had not had an opportunity of writing for seven 
months before. 

Two days after the receipt of my letter my wife was 
awoke very early in the morning to be informed of our 
arrival in France. The courier who brought this intelli- 
gence was the bearer of a second letter from me, which I 
had written on board ship, and dated from Frejus. In this 
letter I mentioned that Bonaparte would pass through 
Sens and dine with my mother. 

In fulfilment of my directions Madame de Bourrienne 
set off for Paris at five in the morning. Having passed 
the first post-house she met a berlin containing four trav- 
ellers, among whom she recognised Louis Bonaparte go- 
ing to meet the General on the Lyons road. On seeing 
Madame de Bourrienne Louis desired the postillion to 
stop, and asked her whether she had heard from me. She 
informed him that we should pass through Sens, where the 
General wished to dine with my mother, who had made 
every preparation for receiving him. Louis then contin- 
ued his journey. About nine o'clock my wife met another 
berlin, in which were Madame Bonaparte and her daugh- 
ter. As they were asleep, and both carriages were driv- 
ing at a very rapid rate, Madame de Bourrienne did not 
stop tliem. Josephine followed the route taken by Louis. 
Both missed the General, who changed his mind at Lyons, 
and proceeded by way of Bourbonnais. He arrived fifteen 
hours after my wife ; and those who had taken the Bur- 
gundy road proceeded to L^^oiis uselessly. 

Determined to repair in all haste to Paris, Bonaparte 
had left Frejus on the afternoon of the day of our lauding. 
He himself had despatched the courier to Sens to inform 
my mother of his intended visit to her ; and it was not 
until he got to Lyons that he determined to take the 


Bourbonnais road. His reason for doing so will presently 
be seen. All along the road, at Aix, at Lyons, in every 
town and village, he was received, as at Frejus, with the 
most rapturous demonstrations of joy.^ Only those who 
witnessed his triumphal journey can form any notion of 
it ; and it required no great discernment to foresee some- 
thing like the 18th Brumaire. 

The provinces, a prey to anarchy and civil war, were con- 
tinually threatened with foreign invasion. Almost all the 
south presented the melancholy spectacle of one vast arena 
of conflicting factions. The nation groaned beneath the 
yoke of tyrannical laws ; despotism was systematically es- 
tablished ; the law of hostages struck a blow at personal 
liberty, and forced loans menaced every man's property. 
The generality of the citizens had declared themselves 
against apentarchy devoid of power, justice, and morahty, 
and which had become the sport of faction and intrigue. 
Disorder was general ; but in the provinces abuses were 
felt more sensibly than elsewhere. In great cities it was 
found more easy to elude the hand of despotism and op- 

A change so earnestly wished for could not fail to be 
realised, and to be received with transport. The majority 
of the French people longed to be relieved from the situa- 
tion in which they then stood. There were two dangers 
to cope with — anarchy and the Bourbons. Every one felt 
the urgent and indispensable necessity of concentrating 
the power of the Government in a single hand ; at the 
same time maintaining those institutions which the spirit 
of the age demanded, and which France, after having so 
dearly purchased, was now about to lose. The country 
looked for a man who was capable of restoring her to 

' From FrejiiH to Aix a crowd of men kliidly rpcortrd im, rjirrylnp: torchea nlong- 
■Id«' th« carriiiRt) of tho Genoral, not so imicti U) ^how Ihelr cnthuHlasin rh to onniir* 
our «afpty (HdurrienTte). Thow; brijfnndR boramn ho bml In Krnncotlmt at ono tlm» 
■f)ldiorB wfTo placed in thf linporialH of all the dlliK'«mcoH, roccivluB from tho wit» 
tbu curluuul^ uuticii)utivc uamu of '* imperial armicu." 


tranquillity ; but as yet no such man had appeared. A 
soldier of fortune presented himself, covered with gloi-y ; 
he had planted the standard of France on the Capitol and 
on the Pyramids. The whole world acknowledged his su- 
perior talent ; his character, his courage, and his victories 
had raised him to the very highest rank. His great works, 
his gallant actions, his speeches, and his proclamations 
ever since he had risen to eminence left no doubt of his 
wish to secure happiness and freedom to France, his 
adopted country. At that critical moment the necessity 
of a temporary dictatorship, which sometimes secures the 
safety of a state, banished all reflections on the conse- 
quences of such a power, and nobody seemed to think 
glory incompatible with personal liberty. All eyes were 
therefore directed on the General, w^hose past conduct 
guaranteed his capability of defending the Republic 
abroad, and liberty at home, — on the General whom his 
flatterers, and indeed some of his sincere friends, styled, 
" the hero of liberal ideas,*' the title to which he aspired. 

Under every point of view, therefore, he was naturally 
chosen as the chief of a generous nation, confiding to him 
her destiny, in preference to a troop of mean and fanatical 
hypocrites, who, under the names of republicanism and 
liberty, had reduced France to the most abject slaveiy. 

Among the schemes which Bonaparte was incessantly 
revolving in his mind may undoubtedly be ranked the 
project of attaining the head of the French Government ; 
but it would be a mistake to suppose that on his return 
from Egypt he had formed any fixed plan. There was 
something vague in his ambitious aspirations ; and he was, 
if I may so express myself, fond of building those im- 
aginary edifices called castles in the air. The current of 
events was in accordance with his wishes ; and it may 
truly be said that the whole French nation smoothed for 
Bonaparte the road which led to power. Certainly the 
unanimous plaudits and universal joy which accompanie<i 

1799. APiElVAL I/Y PARIS. 245 

him along a journey of more than 200 leagues must have 
induced him to regard as a national mission that step 
which was at first prompted merely by his wish of med- 
dling with the affairs of the Republic. 

This spontaneous burst of popular feeling, unordered 
and unpaid for, loudly proclaimed the grievances of the 
people, and their hope that the man of victory would be- 
come their deliverer. The general enthusiasm excited by 
the return of the conqueror of Egypt delighted him to a 
degree which I cannot express, and was, as he has often 
assured me, a powerful stimulus in urging him to the 
object to which the ^wishes of France seemed to direct 

Among people of all classes and opinions an 18th 
Brumaire was desired and expected. Manj' royalists even 
believed that a change would prove favourable to the King. 
So ready are we to persuade ourselves of the reality of 
what we wish. 

As soon as it was suspected that Bonaparte would accept 
the power offered him, an outcry was raised about a con- 
spiracy against the Republic, and measures were sought 
for preserving it. But necessity, and indeed, it must be 
confessed, the general feeling of the people, consigned the 
execution of those measures to him who was to subvert 
the Republic. On his return to Paris Bonaparte spoke 
and acted like a man who felt his own power ; he cared 
neither for flattery, dinners, nor balls, — his mind took a 
higher flight. 

We arrived in Paris on the 24:th Vendémiaire (the IGtli 
of October). As yet he knew nothing of what was going 
on ; for he had seen neither his wife nor his brothers, 
who were looking for him on the Burgundy road. The 
news of our lauding at Frojus had reached Paris by a 
telegraphic despatch. ^ladanio Bonaparte, who was din- 
ing with M. (iohicir when that despatch was comnuniicated 
to him, as president of the Directory, immediately set ofT 


to meet her husband, well knowing how important it waa 
that her first interview with him should not be anticipated 
by his brothers. 

The impinident communications of Junot at the foun- 
tains of Messoudiah will be remembered ; but, after the 
first ebullition of jealous rage, all traces of that feeling 
had apparently disappeared. Bonapai'te, however, was 
still harassed by secret suspicion, and the painful impres- 
sions produced by Junot were either not entirely efiaced 
or were revived after our arrival in Paris. "We reached 
the capital before Josephine returned. The recollection 
of the past, the ill-natured reports of his brothers,' and 
the exaggeration of facts had irritated Napoleon to the 
very highest pitch, and he received Josephine with studied 
coldness, and with an air of the most cruel indifference. 
He had no communication with her for three days, during 
which time he frequently spoke to me of suspicions which 
his imagination converted into certainty ; and threats of 
divorce escaped his lips with no less vehemence than when 
we were on the confines of S^-ria. I took upon me the 
office of conciliator, which I had before discharged with 
success. I represented to him the dangers to be appre- 
hended from the publicity and scandal of such an affair ; 
and that the moment when his gi*and views might possibly 
be realized was not the fit time to entertain France and 
Europe with the details of a charge of adultery. I spoke 
to him of Hortense and Eugène, to whom he was much 
attached. Reflection, seconded by his ardent affection for 
Josephine, brought about a complete reconciliation. 
After these three days of conjugal misunderstanding 
their happiness was never afterwards disturbed by a 
similar cause. ^ 

1 Joseph tonaparte remarks on this that Napoleon met Josephine at Paris 
before his brothers arrived there. (Compare iPÂbrantès, vol. i. pp. 2G0-262, and 
Hémumt, tome i. pp. 147, 148.) 

' In Pi>eaking of the unexpected arrival of Bonaparte from Egypt, and of the 
meeting between him and Josephine, Madame Junot says : — 

•' On the 10th October Josephine set off to meet her husband, but without know- 


On the day after his arrival Bonaparte visited the Di- 
rectors.' The interview was cold. On the 24th of Octo- 
ber he said to me, " I dined yesterday at Gohier's ; Siéyès 
was present, and I pretended not to see him. I observed 
how much he was enraged at this mark of disrespect." — 

ing exactly what road he would take. She thought it likely he would come by way 
of Burgundy, and therefore Louis and she set off for Lyons. 

*' Madame Bonaparte was a prey to great and well-founded uneasiness. Whether 
she was guilty or only imprudent, she was strongly accused by the Bonapnrte family, 
who were desirous that Napoleon should obtain a divorce. The elder M. de Cau- 
laincourt stated to us his apprehensions on this point ; but whenever the subject 
was introduced my mother changed the conversation, because, knowing as she did 
the sentiments of the Bonaparte family, she could not reply without either commit- 
ting them or having recourse to falsehood. She knew, moreover, the truth of many 
circumstances which M. de Caulaincourt seemed to doubt, and which her situation 
with respect to Bonaparte prevented her from communicating to him. 

" Madame Bonaparte committed a great fault in neglecting at this juncture to con- 
ciliate her mother-in-law, who might have protected her against those who sought 
her ruin, and effected it nine years later ; for the divorce in 1S09 was brought about 
by the joint efforts of all the members of the Bonaparte family, aided by some of 
Napoleon's most confidential servants, whom Josephine, either as Madame Bona- 
parte or as Empress, had done nothing to make her friends. 

"Bonaparte, on his amval in Paria, found his house deserted ; but his mother, 
Bisters, and sisters-in-law, and, in short, every member of his family, except Louis, 
who had attended Madame Bonaparte to Lyons, came to him immediately. The im- 
pression made upon him by the solitude of his home and its desertion by its mistress 
was profound and terrible, and nine years afterwards, when the ties between him and 
Josephine were severed for ever, he showed that it was not effaced. From not find- 
ing her with his family he inferred that she felt herself unworthy of their presence, 
and feared to meet the man she had wronged. Ho considered her journey to Lyons 
as a mere pretence. 

" M. de Bourrienne says that for some days after Josephine's return Bonaparte 
treated her with extreme coldneaa. As he was an eye-witness, why does he not state 
the whole truth, and say that on her return Bonaparte refused to see her and did not 
9ee her f It was to the earnest entreaties of her children that she owed the recovery, 
not of her husband's love, for that had long ceased, but of that tenderness acquired 
by habit, and that intimate intercourse which made her still retain the rank of con- 
Bort to the greatest man of his age. Bonaparte was at this period much attached to 
Eugene Beauharnais, who, to do him justice, was a cliarminp youth. lie knew leas 
of Ilortense ; but her youth and Kwectnoas of tenii)er, and the protection of which, 
as his adoptcil daughter, she besought him not to deprive her, proved powerful ad- 
vocates, and overcame his reHistance. 

" In this delicate negotiation it was good poli(!y not to bring any other person into 
play, whatever might be their influence witli Bonaparte, and Mndatuo Bonaparte did 
not, therefore!, have recourse eitlier to Barran, Bourricnne, or Bcrthier. It was ox- 
pcdiont that they who iutorceiled for her should be able to say sonH'thiug without 
the poBHibility of u reply. Now Bonaparte could not witli any ilegroe of propriety 

> The Diteoton «t this time wore Barrua, Siéyùs, MouUds, Qohier, and Boger 


**But are you sure lie is against you ? " inquired I. ''I 
know nothing yet ; but he is a scheming man, and I don't 
like him." Even at that time Bonaparte had thoughts of 
getting himself elected a member of the Directory in the 
room of Siéyès. 

explain to such chUdren as Eugène or Hortense the particulars of their mother's con- 
duct. He wjiB therefore constrained to silence, and had no argument to combat the 
tears of two innocent creatures at his feet exclaiming, ' Do not abandon our mother ; 
she will break her heart ! And ought injustice to take from us, poor orphans, whose 
natural protector the scaffold has already deprived us of, the support of one whom 
Providence has sent to replace him ! " 

" The scene, as Bonaparte has since stated, was long and painful, and the two chil- 
dren at length introduced their mother, and placed her in his arms. The unhappy 
woman had awaited his decision at the door of a small back staircase, extended at 
nlmost full length upon the stairs, suffering the acutest pangs of mental torture. 

" "^'hatevcr might be his wife's errors, Bonaparte appeared entirely to forget them, 
and the reconciliation was complete. Of all the menibors of the family Madame 
Leclerc was most vexed at the pardon w hich Napoleon had granted to his wife. Bo- 
naparte's mother was also very ill pleased ; but she said nothing. Madame Joseph 
Bonaparte, who was always very amiable, took no part in these family quarrels ; 
therefore she could easily determine what part to take when fortune smiled on Jo- 
sephine. As to Madame Bacciocchi, she gave free vent to her ill-humour and dis- 
dain ; the consequence was, that her sister-in-law could never endure her. Christine 
who was a beautiful creature, followed the example of Madame Joseph, and Caroline 
was so young that her opinion could have no weight in such an affair. As to Boo»- 
parte'a brothers, they were at open »"«r with Josephine." 

1799. 249 



Morean and Bernadotte — Bonaparte's opinion of Bemadotte — False re- 
port — The crown of Sweden and the Constitution of the year III. — 
Intrigues of Bonaparte's brothers — Angry conversation between Bona- 
parte and Bernadotte — Bonaparte's version — Josephine's version — An 
unexpected visit — The Manège Club — Salicetti and Joseph Bonaparto 
— Bonaparte invites himself to breakfast with Bernadotte — Country 
excursion — Bernadotte dines with Bonaparte — The plot and con- 
spiracy — Conduct of Lucien — Dinner given to Bonaparte by the 
Council of the Five Hundred — Bonaparte's wish to be chosen a mem- 
ber of the Directory — His reconciliation with Siéyès — Offer made by 
the Directory to Bonaparte — He is falsely accused by Barras. 

To throw a clear light on the course of the great events 
which will presently be developed it is necessary to state 
briefly what intrigues had been hatched and what ambi- 
tious hopes had risen up while we were in Egypt. "When 
in Egypt Bonaparte was entirely deprived of any means 
of knowing what was going on in France ; and in our 
rapid journey from Frejus to Paris we had no opportunity 
of collecting much information. Yet it was very impor- 
tant that we should know the real state of affairs, and the 
sentiments of those whom Bonaparte had counted among 
his rivals in glory, and whom he might now meet among 
his rivals in ambition. 

Moreau's military reputation stood very high, and Ber- 
nadotte'.s firmness api)Oiircd inflexible. Generally speak- 
ing, Bonaparte might have reckoned among his devoted 
partisans the companions of his glory in Italy, and also 
those whom he subsequently denominated "his Egyp- 
tians." But bravo men had distinguished themselves in 


the army of the Khine ; and if they did not withhold their 
admiration from the conqueror of Italy, they felt at least 
more personally interested in the admiration which they 
lavished on him who had repaired the disaster of Scherer. 
Besides, it must be borne in mind that a republican spirit 
prevailed, almost without exception, in the army, and that 
the Directory appeared to be a Government invented ex- 
pressly to afford patronage to intriguers. All this planted 
difficulties in our way, and rendered it indispensably nec- 
essary that we should know our ground. We had, it is 
true, been greeted by the fullest measure of popular en- 
thusiasm on our arrival ; but this was not enough. We 
wanted suffrages of a more solid kind. 

During the campaign of Egypt Bernadotte, who was a 
zealous republican, had been War Minister,^ but he had 
resigned the portfolio to Dubois-Crancé three weeks be- 
fore Bonaparte's return to France. Some partisans of the 
old Minister were endeavouring to get him recalled, and 
it was very important to Bonaparte's interests that he 
should prevent the success of this design. I recollect that 
on the second day of our arrival Bonaparte said to me, "I 
have learned many things ; but we shall see what will 
happen. Bernadotte is a singular man. When he was 
War Minister Augereau, Salicetti, and some others in- 
formed him that the Constitution was in danger, and that 
it was necessary to get rid of Siéyès, Barras, and Fouché, 
who were at the head of a jDlot. What did Bernadotte 
do? Nothing. He asked for proofs. None could be 
produced. He asked for powers. Who could grant them? 
Nobody. He should have taken them ; but he would not 
venture on that. He wavered. He said he could not 
enter into the schemes which were proposed to him. He 
only promised to be silent on condition that they were re- 

> Bernadotte was Minister of War from 2d July 1799 to 14th September 1799, when, 
aa he himself wrote to the Directory, they " accepted'" the resignation he had not 


nounced. Bernadotte is not a help ; he is an obstacle. I 
have heard from good authority that a great number of 
influential persons wished to invest him with extensive 
power for the public good ; but he was obstinate, and 
would listen to nothing." 

After a brief interval of silence, during which Bonaparte 
rubbed his forehead with his right hand, he thus resumed : 
"I believe I shall have Bernadotte and Moreau against me. 
But I do not fear Moreau. He is devoid of energy. I 
know he would prefer military to political power. The 
promise of the command of an army would gain him over. 
But Bernadotte has Moorish blood in his veins. He is 
bold and enterprising. He is allied to my brothers.* He 
does not like me, and I am almost certain that he will op- 
pose me. If he should become ambitious he will venture 
anything. And yet, you recollect in what a lukewarm way 
he acted on the 18th Fructidor, when I sent him to second 
Augereau. This devil of a fellow is not to be seduced. He 
is disinterested and clever. But, after all, we have but 
just arrived, and know not what may happen." 

Bernadotte, it was reported, had advised that Bonaparte 
should be brought to a court-martial, on the twofold 
charge of having abandoned his army and violated the 
quarantine laws. This report came to the ears of Bona- 
parte ; but he refused to believe it and he was right. 
Bernadotte thought himself bound to the Constitution 
which he had sworn to defend. Hence the opposition he 
manifested to the measures of the 18th Brumaire. But 
he cherished no personal animosity against Bonaparte as 

» Joseph Bonaparto and Bornadotto had married Risters, Miirie-Julic and Eugonfo 
Bernardine-DL'siroc Clary. The feeling of Buurriciino for Beniadotti^ makea this 
pa,HHaK<! doubtful. It Ih tx) be noticed that in the Hamo conversation lie make» NaiK>- 
leon dcacribe Bernadotte as not venturing to act witliout powera and aa onteri)rl8- 
ing. The Htem rupubhcan becoming I'rinco do Monto Corvo and Kin^ of Sweden, in 
a way compatible with IiIh tldoiity to the ConHtitution of the year III., in good. 
Ijanfrey attributoH Bernadotto'H rcfiiRal to join more to rivalry than to principle 
{Ldnjrev, tome I. p. 410). But in any cawi Napoleon did not dread Beruudotlo, aud 
was eoon thrcatciiiHg to nhoyt him ; see Lucien, tomo ii. p. 107. 


long as lie was ignorant of his ambitious designs. The 
extraordinary and complicated nature of subsequent events 
rendered his possession of the crown of Sweden in no way 
incompatible with his fidelity to the Constitution of the 
year m. 

On our first arrival in Paris, though I was almost con- 
stantly with the General, yet, as our routine of occupa- 
tion was not yet settled, I was enabled now and then to 
snatch an hour or two from business. This leisure time I 
spent in the society of my family and a few friends, and 
in collecting information as to what had happened during 
our absence, for which purpose I consulted old news- 
papers and pamphlets. I was not surprised to learn that 
Bonaparte's brothers — that is to say, Joseph and Lucien — 
had been engaged in many intrigues. I was told that 
Siéyès had for a moment thought of calling the Duke of 
Brunswick to the head of the Government ; that Barras 
would not have been very averse to favouring the return 
of the Bourbons ; and that Moulins, Roger Ducos, and 
Gohier alone believed or affected to believe, in the pos- 
sibility of preserving the existing form of government. 
From what I heard at the time I have good reasons for 
believing that Joseph and Lucien made all sorts of en- 
deavours to inveigle Bernadotte into their brother's party, 
and in the hope of accomplishing that object they had 
assisted in getting him appointed War Minister. How- 
ever, I cannot vouch for the truth of this. I was told that 
Bernadotte had at first submitted to the influence of Bona- 
parte's two brothers ; but that their urgent interference 
in their client's behalf induced him to shake them off, 
to proceed freely in the exercise of his duties, and to 
open the eyes of the Directory on what the Republic 
might have to apprehend from the enterprising character 
of Bonaparte. It is certain that what I have to relate re- 
specting the conduct of Bernadotte to Bonaparte is calcu- 
lated to give credit to these assertions. 


All the generals who were in Paris, with the exception 
of Bernadotte, had visited Bonaparte during the first three 
days which succeeded his arrival. Bernadotte's absence 
was the more remarkable because he had served under 
Bonaparte in Italy. It was not until a fortnight had 
elapsed, and then only on the reiterated entreaties of 
Joseph and Madame Joseph Bonaparte (his sister-in-law), 
that he determined to go and see his old General-in-Chiel 
I was not present at their interview, being at that moment 
occupied in the little cabinet of the Eue Chantereine. 
But I soon discovered that their conversation had been 
long and warm ; for as soon as it was ended Bonaparte 
entered the cabinet exceedingly agitated, and said to me, 
"Bourrienne, how do you think Bernadotte has behaved? 
You have traversed France with me — you witnessed the 
enthusiasm which my return excited — you yourself told 
me that you saw in that enthusiasm the desire of the 
French people to be relieved from the disastrous position 
in which our reverses have placed them. Well ! would 
you believe it ? Bernadotte boasts, with ridiculous exag- 
geration, of the brilliant and victorious situation of France ! 
He talks about the defeat of the Bussians, the occupation 
of Genoa, the innumerable armies that are rising up 
everywhere. In short, I know not what nonsense he has 
got in his head." — "What can all this mean?" said I. 
" Did he speak about Egypt?" — " Oh, yes! Now you re- 
mind me. He actually reproached me for not having 
brought the army back with me ! ' But,' obsei-ved I, 
* have you not just told me that j'ou are absolutely over- 
run with troops ; tliat all your frontiers are secure, that 
immense levies arc going on, and that you will have 200,- 
000 infantry ? — If this be true, what do you want with a 
few thousand men who may ensure the preservation of 
Egypt?' He could make no answer to this. 15ut ho is 
quite elated by the honour of having been War Minister ; 
and he told mo boldly that he looked upon the army of 


Egypt as lost. Nay, more. He made insinuations. He 
spoke of enemies abroad and enemies at home ; and as he 
uttered these last words he looked significantly at me. I 
too gave him a glance ! But stay a little. The pear will 
soon be ripe ! You know Josephine's grace and address. 
She was present. The scrutinising glance of Bernadotte 
did not escape her, and she adroitly turned the conversa- 
tion. Bernadotte saw from my countenance that I had 
had enough of it, and he took his leave. But don't let me 
interrupt you further. I am going back to speak to 

I must confess that this strange story made me very im- 
patient to find myself alone with Madame Bonaparte, for 
I wished to hear her account of the scene. An opportun- 
ity occurred that very evening. I repeated to her what I 
had heard from the General, and all that she told me 
tended to confirm its accuracy. She added that Berna- 
dotte seemed to take the utmost pains to exhibit to the 
General a flattering picture of the prosperity of France ; 
and she reported to me, as follows, that part of the con- 
versation which was peculiarly calculated to irritate Bona- 
parte : — " * I do not despair of the safety of the Republic, 
which I am certain can restrain her enemies both abroad 
and — at home.' As Bernadotte uttered these last words," 
continued Josephine, " his glance made me shudder. One 
word more and Bonaparte could have commanded himself 
no longer ! It is true," added she, " that it was in some 
degree his own fault, for it was he who turned the con- 
versation on politics ; and Bernadotte, in describing the 
flourishing condition of France, was only replying to the 
General, who had drawn a very opposite picture of the 
state of things. You know, my dear Bourrienne, that 
Bonaparte is not always very prudent. I fear he has said 
too much to Bernadotte about the necessity of changes in 
the Government." Josephine had not yet recovered from 
the agitation into which this violent scene had thrown her. 


After I took leave of her I made notes of what she had 
told me. 

A few days after, when Bonaparte, Josephine, Hortense, 
Eugène, and I were together in the drawing-room, Bema- 
dotte unexpectedly entered. His appearance, after what 
had passed, was calculated to surprise us. He was ac- 
companied by a person whom he requested permission to 
introduce to Bonaparte. I have forgotten his name, but 
he was, I think, secretary-general while Bernadotte was in 
office. Bonaparte betrayed no appearance of astonish- 
ment. He received Bernadotte with perfect ease, and they 
soon entered into conversation. Bonaparte, who seemed 
to acquire confidence from the presence of those who were 
about him, said a great deal about the agitation which 
prevailed among the republicans, and expressed himself 
in vei7 decided terms against the Manège Club.' I sec- 
onded him by observing that M. Moreau de Worms of my 
department, who was a member of that club, had himself 
complained to me of the violence that prevailed in it. 
"But, General," said Bernadotte, '*your brothers were its 
most active originators. Yet," added he in a tone of 
firmness, " you accuse me of having favoured that club, and 
I repel the charge. It cannot be otherwise than false. 
When I came into office I found everything in the greatest 
disorder. I had no leisure to think about any club to 
which my duties did not call me. You know well that 
your friend Salicetti, and that your brother, who is in your 
confidence, are both leading men in the Manège Club. 
To the instructions of / know not tohom is to be attributed 
the violence of which you complain." At these words, 
and especially the tone in which Bernadotte uttered / 
know not whom, Bonaparte could no longer restrain him- 

' The Man^Ro Club, tlio laht rcnort of the- Jiicobina, formed In 1799, and closed 
■evon or olpfht inonthH aftcrwanln. J<)Hi-i)h Bonaparte (KrreurK, tome i. p. 261) de- 
nUw that ho or Lucion for whom the alhiKion Ih meant— worn mi-mborH of thin ohib, 
and ho diflpnUîH thiH n»>nv<TB«tion over havinj{ takon place. Lucian (tomo 1. p. SlU^ 
treat» thin club aii uppuHod to hiH party. 


self. "Well, General," exclaimed he furiously, "I tell 
you plainly, I would rather live wild in the woods than in 
a state of society which affords no security." Beruadotte 
then said, with great dignity of manner, *' Good God ! 
General, what security would you have ? " From the 
warmth evinced by Bonaparte I saw plainly that the con- 
versation would soon be converted into a dispute, and 
in a whisper I requested Madame Bonaparte to change 
the conversation, which she immediately did by address- 
ing a question to some one present. Bernadotte, observ- 
ing Madame Bonaparte's design, checked his warmth. 
The subject of conversation was changed, and it be- 
came general. Bernadotte soon took up his hat and de- 

One morning, when I enœred Bonaparte's chamber — it 
was, I believe, three or four days after the second visit of 
Bernadotte — he said : 

" Well, Bourrienne, I wager you will not guess with 
whom I am going to breakfast this morning ? " — " Keally, 

General, I " — "With Bernadotte ; and the best of 

the joke is, that I have invited myself. You would have 
seen how it was all brought about if you had been with us 
at the Théâtre Français, yesterday evening. You know we 
are going to visit Joseph to-day at Mortfontaine. Well, as 
we were coming out of the theatre last night, finding my- 
self side by side with Bernadotte and not knowing what 
to talk about, I asked him whether he was to be of our 
party to-day ? He replied in the affirmative ; and as we 
were passing his house in the Eue Cisalpine,' I told him, 
without any ceremony, that I should be happy to come and 
take a cup of coffee with him in the morning. He seemed 
pleased. What do you think of that, Bourrienne?"— 
" Why, General, I hope you may have reason on your part 
to be pleased with him." — " Never fear, never fear. I 

> Joseph Bonaparte Irjk proat Rtress on the fact that Napoleon would not have 
pawed thii houbo, which was far from the thoatxo {Erreurs, tome i, p. 251). 


know what I am about. This will compromise him with 
Gohier. Remember, you must always meet your enemies 
with a bold face, otherwise they think they are feared, and 
that gives them confidence." 

Bonaparte stepped into the carriage with Josephine, 
who was always ready when she had to go out with him, 
for he did not like to wait. They proceeded first to Ber- 
nadotte's to breakfast, and from thence to Mortfontaine. 
On his return Bonaparte told me very little about what had 
passed during the day, and I could see that he was not in 
the best of humours. I afterwards learned that Bonaparte 
had conversed a good deal with Bernadotte, and that he 
bad made every effort to render himself agreeable, which 
he very well knew how to do when he chose ! but that, in 
spite of all his conversational talent, and supported as he 
was by the presence of his three brothers, and Reg- 
nault de St. Jean d'Angély,' he could not withstand the 
republican firmness of Bernadotte. However, the number 
of his partisans daily augmented ; for all had not the un- 
compromising spirit of Bernadotte ; and it will soon be seen 
that Moreau himself undertook charge of the Directors 
who were made prisoners on the 18th Brumaire. 

Bernadotte's shrewd penetration made him one of the 
first to see clearly into Bonaparte's designs. He was well 
convinced of his determination to overthrow the constitu- 
tion and possess himself of power. He saw the Directory 
divide<l into two parties ; the one duped by the promises 
and assurances of Bonaparte, and the other conniving with 
him for the accomplishment of his plans. In these cir- 
cumstances Bernadotte ofTored his servic'cs to all persona 
connected with the Government who, like himself, were 
averse to the change which ho saw good reason to appre- 
hend. But Bonaparte was not the man to be outdone in 

• Ktlnnno Uojrnnult or Rrpnuud (dr St. Jeun d'AnRi'ly) bo<amo Comto, and a 
McmUir <»f th«' Council (if SUiU', Metrf laite (P /UnC tie Ui Famille fmprrluU, etc., 
but waH, though much oinployi-d aud uhuwrng uiucL dovutluu, lU'wr givcu ufllco. 

Vol. I.— 17 


cuDning or activity ; and every moment swelled the ranks 
of his adherents. 

On the 16th Brumaire I dined in the Eue de la Victoire. 
Bernadotte was present, and I believe General Jourdan 
also. While the grand conspiracy was hastening to its 
accomplishment Madame Bonaparte and I had contrived 
a little plot of a more innocent kind. We let no one into 
our secret, and our 16th Brumaire was crowned with com- 
plete success. We had agreed to be on the alert to pre- 
vent any fresh exchange of angry words. All succeeded 
to the utmost of our wishes. The conversation lan- 
guished during dinner ; but it was not dulness that we 
were afraid of. It turned on the subject of war, and in 
that vast ûeld Bonaparte's superiority over his interlocu- 
tors was undeniable. 

When we retired to the drawing-rooms a great number 
of evening visitors poured in, and the conversation then 
became animated, and even gay. Bonaparte was in high 
spirits. He said to some one, smiling, and pointing to 
Bernadotte, " You are not aware that the General yonder 
is a Chouan." — "A Chouan ?" repeated Bernadotte, also 
in a tone of pleasantry. *' Ah ! General you- contradict 
yourself. Only the other day you taxed me with favour- 
ing the violence of the friends of the Republic, and now 
you accuse me of protecting the Chouans.' You should 
at least be consistent." A few moments after, availing 
himself of the confusion occasioned by the throng of vis- 
itors, Bernadotte slipped off. 

As a mark of respect to Bonaparte the Council of the 
Five Hundred appointed Lucien its president. The event 
proved how important this nomination was to Napoleon. 
Up to the 19th Brumaire, and especially on that day, 
Lucien evinced a degree of activity, mtelligence, courage, 
and presence of mind which are rarely found united in 

> The *' Chouans," so called from their ubc of the cry of the Bcroech-owl (oh«> 
houan) as a signal, were the revolted peaeauta of lirittany and of Maine. 


one individual. I have no hesitation in stating that to Lu- 
cien's nomination and exertions must be attributed the 
success of the 19th Brumaire. 

The General had laid down a plan of conduct from 
which he never deviated during the twenty-three days 
which intervened between his arrival in Paris and the 
18th Brumaire. He refused almost all private invitations, 
in order to avoid indiscreet questions, unacceptable oifers, 
and answers which might compromise him. 

It was not without some degree of hesitation that he 
yielded to a project started by Lucien, who, by all sorts of 
manœuvring, had succeeded in prevailing on a great number 
of his colleagues to be present at a grand subscription din- 
ner to be given to Bonaparte by the Council of the Ancients. 

The disorder which unavoidably prevailed in a party 
amounting to upwards of 250 persons, animated by a di- 
versity of opinions and sentiments ; the anxiety and dis- 
trust arising in the minds of those who were not in the 
grand plot, rendered this meeting one of the most dis- 
agreeable I ever witnessed. It was all restraint and dul- 
ness. Bonaparte's countenance sufficiently betrayed his 
dissatisfaction ; besides, the success of his schemes de- 
manded his presence elsewhere. Almost as soon as he had 
finished his dinner he rose, saying to Berthier and me, "J 
am tired : let us be gone." He went round to the differ- 
ent tables, addressing to the company compliments and 
trifling remarks, and departed, leaving at table the per- 
sons by whom he had been invited. 

This short political crisis was marked by nothing more 
grand, dignified, or noble than the previous revolutionary 
commotions. All those plots were so contemptible, and 
were accompanied by so much trickery, falsehood, and 
treachery, that, for the honour of human nature, it is desir- 
able to cover tliom with a veil. 

General Bonaparte's tlioughta were first occupied with 
the idea he had conceived oven when in Italy, namely, to 

âoô Memoirs of napoleon Bonaparte. i79d. 

be chosen a Director. Nobody dared yet to accuse him 
of being a deserter from the army of the East. The only 
difficulty was to obtain a disj^ensatiou on the score of age. 
And was this not to be obtained ? No sooner was he 
installed in his humble abode in the Rue de la Victoire 
than he was assured that, on the retirement of Rewbell, 
the majority of suffrages would have devolved on him 
had he been in France, and had not the fundamental law 
required the age of forty ; but that not even his warmest 
partisans were disposed to violate the yet infant Constitu- 
tion of the year III. 

Bonaparte soon perceived that no efforts would succeed in 
overcoming this difficulity, and he easily resolved to possess 
himself wholly of an office of which he would nominally have 
had only a fifth part had he been a member of the Directory. 

As soon as his intentions became manifest he found him- 
self surrounded by all those who recognised in him the 
man they had long looked for. These persons, who were 
able and influential in their own circles, endeavoured to 
convert into friendship the animosity which existed be- 
tween Siéyès and Bonaparte. This angry feeling had been 
increased by a remark made by Siéyès, and reported to 
Bonaparte. He had said, after the dinner at which Bona- 
parte treated him so disrespectfully," Do you see how that 
little insolent fellow behaves to a member of a Government 
which would do well to order him to be shot ? " 

But all was changed when able mediators pointed out 
to Bonaparte the advantage of uniting with Siéyès for the 
purpose of overthrowing a Constitution which he did not 
like. Ho was assured how vain it would be to think of 
superseding him, and that it would be better to flatter him 
with the hope of helping to subvert the constitution and 
raising up a new one. One day some one said to Bona- 
parte in my hearing, " Seek for support among the party 
wlio call the friends of the Republic Jacobins, and be as- 
sured that Siéyès is at the head of that party." 


On the 25tb Vendémiaire (ITth of October) the Direc- 
tory summoned General Bonaparte to a private sitting. 
" They offered me the choice of any army I would com- 
mand," said he to me the next morning. *' I would not 
refuse, but I asked to be allowed a little time for the re- 
covery of my health ; and, to avoid any other embarrassing 
offers, I withdrew. I shall go to no more of their sittings." 
[He attended only one after this.] " I am determined to 
join Siéyès' party. It includes a greater diversity of opin- 
ions than that of the profligate Barras. He proclaims 
everywhere that he is the author of my fortune. He will 
never be content to play an inferior part, and I will never 
bend to such a man. He cherishes the mad ambition of 
being the support of the Republic. What would he do 
with me ? Sicyès, on the contrary, has no political ambi- 

No sooner did Siéyès begin to grow friendly with Bona- 
parte than the latter learned from him that Barras had 
said, " The ' little corporal ' has made his fortune in Italy 
and does not want to go back again." Bonaparte repaired 
to the Directory for the sole purpose of contradicting this 
allegation. He complained to the Directors of its false- 
hood, boldly affirmed that the fortune he was supposed to 
possess had no existence, and that even if he had made 
his fortune it was not, at all events, at the expense of the 
Republic. "You know," said he to me, "that the mines 
of Hydria have furnished the greater part of what I pos- 
sess." — " Is it possible, " said I, " tliat Barras could have 
said so, when you know so well of all the peculations of 
which he has been guilty since your return ? " 

Bonaparte had confided the secret of his plans to very 
few persons — to tlioso only whose assistancîo he wanted. 
The rest mechanically followed their leaders and the im- 
pulse wliicli was given to them ; they passively awaited 
the realisation of the promises they had received, and oil 
the faith of which they had pledged themselvea. 

««6 1799. 



Cambacérès and Lebrun — Gohier deceived — My nocturnal visit to Barras 
— The command of the army given to Bonaparte — The morning of the 
18th Brumaire — Meeting of the generals at Bonaparte's house — Ber- 
nadotte's firmness — Josephine's interest for Madame Gohier — Disap- 
pointment of the Directors — Review in the gardens of the Tuileries 
— Bonaparte's harangue — Proclamation of the Ancients — Moreau, 
jailer of the Luxembourg — My conversation with La Vallette — Bon- 
aparte at St. Cloud. 

The parts of the great drama which was shortly to be en- 
acted were well distributed. Daring the three days pre- 
ceding the 18th Brumaire every one was at his post. Lu- 
cien, with equal activity and intelligence, forwarded the 
conspiracy in the two Councils ; Sieyès had the manage- 
ment of the Directory ; Real,' under the instructions of 
Fouch(','^ negotiated with the departments, and dexterously 
managed, without compromising Fouché, to ruin those 
from whom that Minister had received his power. There 
was no time to lose ; and Fouche said to me on the 14th 
Brumaire, "Tell your General to be speedy ; if he delays, 
be is lost." 

On the 17th Eegnault de St. Jean d'Angély told Bona- 

1 Pierre François Rial (1757-1834) ; public accuser before the revolutionary crim- 
inal tribunal, became, under Napoleon, Conseiller d'iltat and Comte, and was 
charged with the affairs of the " haute police." 

2 Joaeph Fouchû (1754-1820) ; Conventionalist; member of extreme Jacobin party ; 
Minister of Police under the Directory, AupuHt 1799 ; retained by Napoleon in that 
Ministry till 1802. and again from 1801 to 1810 ; became Due d"0trante in 1809; dis- 
graced in 1810, and sent in 1813 aH governor of the Illyrian Provinces ; Minister of 
Police during the Cent Jours : President of the Provisional Government, 1815; ani 
Imt a Bhort time Minister of Police under lecond reetoration. 


parte that the overtures made to Cambacérès and Lebrun 
had not been received in a very decided way. "I will 
have no tergiversation," replied Bonaparte with warmth. 
*' Let them not flatter themselves that I stand in need of 
them. They must decide to-day ; to-morrow will be too 
late. I feel myself strong enough now to stand alone." 

Cambacérès ' and Lebrun ^ were almost utter strangers 
to the intrigues which preceded the 18th Brumaire. 
Bonaparte had cast his eyes on the Minister of Justice to 
be one of his colleagues when he should be at liberty to 
name them, because his previous conduct had pledged him 
as a partisan of the Kevolution. To him Bonaparte added 
Lebrun, to counterbalance the first choice. Lebrun was 
distinguished for honourable conduct and moderate prin- 
ciples. By selecting these two men Bonaparte hoped to 
please every one ; besides, neither of them were able to 
coDtend against his fixed determination and ambitious 

What petty intrigues marked the 17th Brumaire ! On 
that day I dined with Bonaparte ; and after dinner he 
said, " I have promised to dine to-morrow with Gohier ; 
but, as you may readily suppose, I do not intend going. 
However, I am very sorry for his obstinacy. By way of 
restoring his confidence Josephine is going to invite him 
to breakfast with us to-morrow. It will be impossible for 
him to suspect anything. I saw Barras this morning, and 
left him much disturbed. He asked me to return and visit 
him to-night. I promised to do so, but I sliall not go. 
To-mon-ow all will be over. There is but little time ; he 

» Cambacérès (J. J. Re^ia de) (1753-1824). Conventionftliflt ; Minister of Juatloe 
under Directory. 1799; Second CoiikuI, 25111 I)e<XMnb«ir 1799; Arch Chancellor of the 
Empire, 18()4; Due de Purnm, 1800; Minister of Justice during the Cent Jour» : 
took great part in all the legal and administrative projects of the Consulate and 

^ Charles Prançola Lebrun (1737-1824). Deputy to the National Assembly, and 
memlx-r of the Council of the Five Hundred; Third Consul, 25th December 1799 ; 
Arch-Tr«amir<rr of the Kiii|)in>, 1H04 ; Dur d.- plaisance, ISOO; Oovenior-Cieneral of 
Holland, 1K)G ; LicutenuutrOovcrnor of Holland, 181U to Ibi:] ; cliiclly engaged In 
fl Dancial mcasurea. 


expects me at eleven o'clock to-niglit. You shall there- 
fore take my carriage, go there, send in my name, and 
then enter yourself. Tell him that a severe headache 
confines me to my bed, but that I will be with him with- 
out fail to-morrow. Bid him not be alarmed, for all will 
soon be right again. Elude his questions as much as 
possible ; do not stay long, and come to me on your re- 

At precisely eleven o'clock I reached the residence of 
Barras, in General Bonaparte's carriage. Solitude and 
silence prevailed in all the apartments through which I 
passed to Barras' cabinet. Bonaparte was announced, and 
when Barras saw me enter instead of him, he manifested 
the gi'eatest astonishment and appeared much cast down. 
It was easy to perceive that he looked on himself as a lost 
man. I executed my commission, and stayed only a short 
time. I rose to take my leave, and he said, while showing 
me out, " I see that Bonaparte is deceiving me : he will 
not come again. He has settled everything ; yet to me he 
owes all." I repeated that he would certainly come to- 
moiTOw, but he shook his head in a wa}' which plainly 
denoted that he did not believe me. When I gave Bona- 
parte an account of my visit he appeared much pleased. 
He told me that Joseph was going to call that evening on 
Bernadotte, and to ask him to come to-morrow. I replied 
that, from all I knew, he would be of no use to him. '' I 
believe so too," said he ; "but he can no longer injure me, 
and that is enough. Well, good-night ; be here at seven 
in the morning." It was then one o'clock. 

I was with him a little before seven o'clock on the morn- 
ing of the 18th Brumaire, and on my arrival I found a 
great number of generals and officers assembled. I en- 
tered Bonaparte's chamber, and found him already up — a 
thing rather unusual with him. At this moment he was 
as calm as on the approach of a battle. Li a few momenta 
Joseph and Bernadotte arrived. Joseph had not found 


him at home on the preceding evening, and had called for 
him that morning. I was surprised to see Bernadotte in 
plain clothes, and I stepped up to him and said in a low 
voice, " General, every one here, except you and I, is in 
uniform." — "Why should I be in uniform?" said he. As 
he uttered these words Bonaparte, struck with the same 
surprise as myself, stopped short while speaking to several 
persons around him, and turning quickly towards Berna- 
dotte said, "How is this? you are not in uniform !" — "I 
never am on a morning when I am not on dutj'," replied 
Bernadotte. — "You will be on duty presently." — "I have 
not heard a word of it : I should have received my orders 

Bonaparte then led Bernadotte into an adjoining room. 
Their conversation was not long, for there was no time to 

On the other hand, by the influence of the principal 
conspirators the removal of the legislative body to St. 
Cloud was determined on the morning of the 18th Bru- 
maire, and the command of the army was given to Bona- 

AH this time Barras was no doubt waiting for Bona- 
parte, and Madame Bonaparte was expecting Gohier to 
breakfast. At Boua2:)arte's were assembled all the generals 
who were devoted to him. I never saw so great a number 
before in the Rue de la Victoire. They were all, except 
Bernadotte, in full uniform ; and there were, besides, half 
a dozen persons there initiated in the secrets of the day. 
The little hotel of the conqueror of Italy was much too 
small for such an assemblage, and several persons were 
standing in the court-yard. Bonaparte was acquainted 

' All thJH aofount Ih doniod by Jo«oph Bonaparte, who hajH (^Erreurs, tome i. p. 
252) that HernridoLto did not Hoe Napoleon nor enter his houiwi on the 18lh Hniniaire, 
and ap|x*alH to lieriuwlotU) himnelf, then alive. Thiers {Umw v. p. 4U-1) and Lanfrey 
(U^ine I. p 461) follow Uourrienno. A loiu-rof Iierna<luLto to Jow'p'i (Lucien, tonia 
1. pp. 862. 3<yj) B«emH to Hhow that HemadotU-, IcIievinK ho nould roHÎHt, had yielded 
to Joitvph'M udvic« ; ucu aluu LIh rcfereucu to IiIk yuulh al that time (Lucien, tome Li. 
p. 388). 


with the decree of the Council of the Ancients, and only 
waited for its being brought to hira before he should 
mount his horse. That decree was adopted in the Council 
of the Ancients by what may be called a false majority, 
for the members of the Council were summoned at difTer- 
ent hours, and it was so contrived that sixty or eighty of 
them, whom Lucien and his friends had not been able to 
gain over, should not receive their notices in time. 

As soon as the message from the Council of the Ancients 
arrived Bonaparte requested all the officers at his house 
to follow him. At that announcement a few who were in 
ignorance of what was going on did not follow — at least I 
saw two groups separately leave the hotel. Bernadotte 
said to me, "I shall stay with you." I perceived there 
was a good deal of suspicion in his manner. Bonaparte, 
before going down the stairs which led from the small 
round dining-room into the courtyard, returned quickly 
to bid Bernadotte follow him. He would not, and Bona- 
parte then said to me, while hurrying off, ''Gohior is not 
come — so much the worse for him," and leaped on his 
horse. Scarcely was he off when Bernadotte left me. 
Josephine and I being now left alone, she acquainted mo 
with her anxiety. I assured her that everything had been 
so well prepared that success was certain. She felt much 
interest about Gohier on account of her friendship for his 
wife. She asked me whether I was well acquainted with 
Gohier. "You know, Madame," replied I, ''that we have 
been only twenty days in Paris, and that during that time 
I have only gone out to aleep in the Rue Martel. I have 
seen M. Gohier several times, when he came to visit the 
General, and have talked to him about the situation of our 
affairs in Switzerland, Holland, France, and other political 
matters, but I never exchanged a word with him as to 
what is now going on. This ia the whole extent of my 
acquaintance with him." 

" I am sorry for it," resumed Josephine, *' because I 


should have asked you to write to him, and beg him to 
make no stir, but imitate Siéyès and Koger, who will vol- 
untarily retire, and not to join Barras, who is probably at 
this very moment forced to do so. Bonaparte has told 
me that if Gohier voluntarily resigns, he will do ever}'- 
thing for him." I believe Josephine communicated di- 
rectly with the President of the Directory through a 
friend of Madame Gohier's. 

Gohier and Moulins, no longer depending on Siéyès 
and Roger Ducos, waited for their colleague. Barras, in 
the hall of the Directory, to adopt some measure on the 
decree for removing the Councils to St. Cloud. But they 
were disappointed ; for Barras, whose eyes had been 
opened by my visit on the preceding night, did not join 
them. He had been invisible to his colleagues from the 
moment that Bruix and M. de Talleyrand had informed 
him of the reality of what he already suspected, and in- 
sisted on his retirement. 

On the 18th Brumaire a great number of military, 
amounting to about 10,000 men, were assembled in the 
gardens of the Tuileries, and were reviewed by Bonaparte, 
accompanied by Generals Beurnonville, Moreau, and Mac- 
donald. Bonaparte read to them the decree just issued by 
the commission of inspectors of the Council of the An- 
cients, by which the legislative body was removed to St. 
Cloud, and by which he himself was entrusted with the 
execution of that decree, and appointed to the command 
of all the military force in Paris, and afterwards delivered 
an address to the troops. 

Whilst Boiiapiirte was haranguing the soldiers, the 
Council of the Ancients published an address to the 
French people, in which it was declared that the seat of 
the legislative body was changed, in order to put down 
the factions, whose object was to control the national rep- 

While all this was passing abroad I was at the General's 


house in the Rue de la Victoire ; which I never left during 
the whole day. Madame Bonaparte and I were not with- 
out anxiety in Bonaparte's absence. I learned from Jose- 
phine that Joseph's wife had received a visit from Adju- 
tant-General Rapatel, who had been sent by Bonaparte 
and Moreau to bring her husband to the Tuileries. Joseph 
was from home at the time, and so the message was use- 
less. This circumstance, however, awakened hopes which 
we had scarcely dared to entertain. Moreau was then in 
accordance with Bonaparte, for Rapatel was sent in the 
name of both Generals. This alliance, so long despaired 
of, appeared to augur favourably. It was one of Bona- 
parte's happy strokes. Moreau, who was a slave to military 
discipline, regarded his successful rival only as a chief 
nominated by the Council of the Ancients. He received 
his orders and obeyed them. Bonaparte appointed him 
commander of the guard of the Luxembourg, where the 
Directors were under confinement. He accepted the com- 
mand, and no circumstance could have contributed more 
effectually to the accomplishment of Bonaparte's views and 
to the triumph of his ambition. 

At length Bonaparte, whom we had impatiently ex- 
pected, returned. Almost everything had gone well with 
him, for he had had only to do with soldiers. In the 
evening he said to me, " I am sure that the committee of 
inspectors of the hall are at this very moment engaged in 
settling what is to be done at St. Cloud to-morrow. It is 
better to let them decide the matter, for by that means 
their vanity is flattered. I will obey orders which I have 
myself concerted." What Bonaparte was speaking of had 
been arranged nearly two or three days previously. The 
committee of inspectors was under the influence of the 
principal conspirators. 

In the evening of this anxious day, which was destined 
to be succeeded by a stormy morrow, Bonaparte, pleased 
with having gained over Moreau, sj^oke to me of Berna- 

im. '' beunaDottë is a bar of iron:' 26§ 

dotte's visit in the morning. " I saw," said he, " that you 
were as much astonished as I at Bernadotte's behaviour. 
A general out of uniform ! He might as well have come 
in slippers. Do you know what passed when I took him 
aside ? I told him all ; I thought that the best way. I 
assured him that his Directory was hated, and his Consti- 
tution worn out ; that it was necessary to turn them all 
off, and give another impulse to the government. ' Go 
and put on your uniform,' said I : 'I cannot wait for you 
long. You will find me at the Tuileries, with the rest of 
our comrades. Do not depend on Moreau, Beurnonville, 
or the generals of your party. When you know them 
better you will find that they promise much but perfonn 
little. Do not trust them.' Bernadotte then said that he 
would not take part in what he called a rebellion. A 
rebellion ! Bourrienne, only think of that ! A set of im- 
beciles, who from morning to night do nothing but debate 
in their kennels ! But all was in vain. I could not move 
Bernadotte. He is a bar of iron. I asked him to give me 
his word that he would do nothing against me ; what do 
you think was his answer ?" — " Something unpleasant, no 
doubt." — " Unpleasant ! that is too mild a word. He 
said, * I will remain quiet as a citizen ; but if the Direc- 
tory order me to act, I will march against all disturbers.' 
But I can laugh at all that now. My measures are taken, 
and he will have no command. However, I set him at 
ease as to what would take place. I flattered him with a 
picture of private life, the pleasures of the country, and 
the charms of jNLilniaison ; and I left him with his head 
full of pastoral dreams. In a word, I am very well satisfied 
with my day's work. Good-night, Bourrienne ; we sliall 
see what will turn up to-morrow." 

On the 19th I wont to St. Cloud with my friend La 
Vallette.' As we passed the Place Louis XV., now Louis 

» Mario ChnnmnH, Cotnto do La ValU-tto (1789-1830). aide dr mmp to Najxilooa 
from 17U6 , married, IT'JB, Loulbu Euiillo du iJcuubaruulH, uiocu of Jo.scphluo ; Miu- 


XVI., he asked me what was doing, and what my opinion 
was as to the coming events ? Without entering into any 
detail I replied, " My friend, either we shall sleep to-mor- 
row at the Luxembourg, or there will be an end of us." 
Who could tell which of the two things would happen ! 
Success legalised a bold enterprise, which the slightest 
accident might have changed into a crime. 

The sitting of the Ancients, under the presidency of 
Lemercier, commenced at one o'clock. A warm discussion 
took place upon the situation of affairs, the resignation 
of the members of the Directory, and the immediate elec- 
tion of others. Great heat and agitation prevailed dur- 
ing the debate. Intelligence was every minute carried to 
Bonaparte of what was going forward, and he determined 
to enter the hall and take part in the discussion. He 
entered in a hasty and angry way, which did not give me 
a favourable foreboding of what he was about to say. We 
passed through a narrow passage to the centre of the hall ; 
our backs were turned to the door. Bonaparte had the 
President to his right. He could not see him full in the 
face. I was close to the General on his right. Berthier 
was at his left. 

All the speeches which have been subsequently passed 
off as having been delivered by Bonaparte on this oc- 
casion differ from each other ; as well they may, for he 
delivered none to the Ancients, unless his confused con- 
versation with the President, which was alike devoid of 
dignity and sense, is to be called a speech. He talked of 
his "brothers in arms" and the ''frankness of a soldier.'* 
The questions of the President followed each other rapid- 
ly : they were clear ; but it is impossible to conceive any- 
thing more confused or worse delivered than the ambig- 
uous and perplexed replies of Bonaparte. He talked 
without end of "volcanoes, secret agitations, victories, a 

later of Posts from 1800 to 1814, and during the Cent Jours ; condemned to death by 
the Bourl^tu iu 1815, but caca^Hid. 


violated constitution ! " He blamed the proceedings of 
the 18th Fructidor, of which he was the first promoter 
and the most powerful supporter. He pretended to be 
ignorant of everything until the Council of Ancients had 
called him to the aid of his country. Then came " Csesar 
— Cromwell — tyrant ! " and he several times repeated, " I 
have nothing more to say to you ! " though, in fact, he 
had said nothing. He alleged that he had been called to 
assume the supreme authority, on his return from Italy, 
by the desire of the nation, and afterwards by his com- 
rades in arms. Next followed the words "liberty — equal- 
ity ! " though it was evident he had not come to St. Cloud 
for the sake of either. No sooner did he utter these 
words than a member of the Ancients, named, I think, 
Linglet, interrupting him, exclaimed, " You forget the 
Constitution ! " His countenance immediately lighted up ; 
yet nothing could be distinguished but "The 18th Fructi- 
dor — the 30th Prairial — hypocrites — intriguers — I will dis- 
close all ! — I will resign my power, when the danger 
which threatens the Republic shall have passed away ! " 

Bonaparte, believing all his assertions to be admitted 
as proved, assumed a little confidence, and accused the 
two directors Barras and Moulins " of having proposed to 
put him at the head of a party whose object was to op- 
pose all men professing liberal ideas." 

At these words, the falsehood of which was odious, a 
great tumult arose in the hall. A general committee was 
loudly called for to hear the disclosures. " No, no ! " ex- 
claimed others, " no general committee ! Conspirators 
have been denounced : it is right that France should 
know all ! " 

Bonaparte was then required to enter into the particu- 
lsu*8 of his accusation against Barras and Moulins, and of 
the proposals which had been made to him : " You must 
no longer conceal anything." 

Embarrassed by these interruptions and interrogatoriea 


Bonaparte believed that lie was completely lost. Instead 
of giving an explanation of what he had said, he began to 
make fresh accusations ; and against whom ? The Coun- 
cil of the Five Hundred, who, he said, wished for " scaf- 
folds, revolutionary committees, and a complete overthrow 
of everything." 

Violent murmurs arose, and his language became more 
and more incoherent and inconsequent. He addressed 
himself at one moment to the representatives of the peo- 
ple, who were quite overcome by astonishment ; at an- 
other to the military in the courtyard, who could not hear 
him. Then, by an unaccountable transition, he spoke of 
'' the thunderbolts of war ! " and added, that he was " at- 
tended by the God of war and the God of fortune." 

The President, with gi'eat calmness, told him that he 
saw nothing, absolutely nothing, upon which the Council 
could deliberate ; that there was vagueness in all he had 
said. " Explain yourself ; reveal the plot which you say 
you were urged to join." 

Bonaparte repeated again the same things. But only 
those who were present can form any idea of his manner. 
There was not the slightest connection in what he stam- 
mered out. Bonaparte was then no orator. It may well 
be supposed that he was more accustomed to the din of 
war than to the discussions of the tribunes. He was more 
at home before a battery than before a President's chair. 

Perceiving the bad effect which this unconnected bab- 
bling produced on the assembly, as well as the embarrass- 
ment of Bonaparte, I said, in a low voice, pulling him 
gently by the skirt of his coat, " Withdraw, General ; you 
know not what you are saying." I made signs to Berthier, 
who was on his left, to second me in persuading him to 
leave the hall ; and all at once, after ha^dng stammered 
out a few more words, he turned round exclaiming, " Let 
those who love me follow me ! " The sentinels at the door 
offered no opposition to his passing. The person who 


went before Inm quietly drew aside the tapestry which 
concealed the door, and General Bonaparte leaped upon 
his horse, which stood in the court-yard. It is hard to say 
what would have happened if, on seeing the General re- 
tire, the President had said, "Grenadiers, let no one 
pass ! " Instead of sleeping next day at the Luxembourg 
he would, I am convinced, have ended his career on the 
Place de la Révolution ! 
Vol. L— 18 

274 1799. 



The two Councils — Barras' letter — Bonaparte at the Council of the Five 
Hundred — False reports — Tumultuous sitting — Lucien's speech — He 
resigns the Presidency of the Council of the Five Hundred — He is 
carried out by grenadiers— He harangues the troops — A dramatic 
scene— Murat and his soldiers drive out the Five Hundred —Council 
of Thirty — Consular commission — Decree — Return to Paris — Conver- 
sation with Bonaparte and Josephine respecting Gohier and Bema- 
dotte — The directors Gohier and Moulins imprisoned. 

The scene which occurred at the sitting of the Council of 
the Ancients was very different from that which passed 
outside. Bonaparte had scarcely reached the courtyai'd 
and mounted his horse when cries of " Vive Bonaparte ! " 
resounded on all sides. But this was only a sunbeam be- 
tween two storms. He had yet to brave the Council of the 
Five Hundred, which was far more excited than the Coun- 
cil of the Ancients. Everything tended to create a dread- 
ful uncertainty ; but it was too late to draw back. We 
had already staked too heavily. The game was desperate, 
and everything was to be ventured. In a few hours all 
would be determined. 

Our apprehensions were not without foundation. In 
the Council of the Five Hundred agitation was at its 
height. The most serious alarm marked its deliberations. 
It had been determined to announce to the Directory the 
installation of the Councils, and to inquire of the Council 
of the Ancients their reasons for resolving upon an ex- 
traordinary convocation. But the Directory no longer ex- 
isted. Sicyès and Boger Ducos had joined Bonaparte's 


party. Gohier and Moulins were prisoners in the Luxem- 
bourg, and in the custody of General Moreau ; and at the 
very moment when the Council of the Five Hundred had 
drawn up a message to the Dii-ectory, the Council of the 
Ancients transmitted to them the following letter, received 
from Barras. This letter, which was addressed to the 
Council of the Ancients, was immediately read by Lucien 
Bonaparte, who was President of the Council of the Five 

Citizen President — Having entered into public affairs solely 
from my love of liberty, I consented to share the first magistracy of 
the State only that I might be able to defend it in danger ; to pro- 
tect against their enemies the patriots compromised in its cause ; 
and to ensure to the defenders of their country that attention to 
their interests which no one was more calculated to feel than a citi- 
zen, long the witness of their heroic virtues, and always sensible to 
their wants. 

The glory which accompanies the return of the illustrious war- 
rior to whom I had the honour of opening the path of glory, the 
striking marks of confidence given him by the legislative body, and 
the decree of the National Convention, convince me that, to what- 
ever post he may henceforth be called, the dangers to liberty will 
be averted, and the interests of tlie army ensured. 

I cheerfully return to the rank of a private citizen : happy, after 
80 many storms, to resign, unimpaired, and even more glorious than 
ever, the destiny of the Republic, which lias been, in part, com- 
mitted to my care. (Signed) Barras. 

This letter occasioned a great sensation in the Council 
of the Five Hundred. A second reading was called for, 
and a question was started, whether the retirement was 
legal, or was the result of collusion, and of the influence 
of Bonaparte's agents ; whether to believe Barras, who de- 
clared the dangers of liberty averted, or the decree for the 
removal of the legislative corps, which was passed and exe- 
cuted under the pretext of tho oxisleiico of imminent peril ? 
At that moment Bonaparte appeared, followed by a party 
of grenadiers, who remained at the entrance of the hall. 


I did not accompany him to the Council of the Five 
Hundred. He had directed me to send oflf an express to 
ease the apprehensions of Josephine, and to assure her 
that everything would go well. It was some time before 
I joined him again. 

However, without speaking as positively as if I had 
myself been an eye-witness of the scene, I do not hesitate 
to declare that all that has been said about assaults and 
poniards is pure invention. I rely on what was told me, 
on the very night, by persons well worthy of credit, and 
who were witnessess of all that passed. 

As to what passed at the sitting, the accounts, given 
both at the time and since, have varied according to 
opinions. Some have alleged that unanimous cries of in- 
dignation were excited by the appearance of the military. 
From all parts of the hall resounded, "The sanctuary of 
the laws is violated. Down with the tyrant! — down with 
Cromwell ! — down with the Dictator ! " Bonaparte stam- 
mered out a few words, as he had done before the Council 
of the Ancients, but his voice was immediately drowned 
by cries of *' Vive la République ! " Vive la Constitution ! " 
"Outlaw the Dictator !" The grenadiers are then said to 
have rushed forward, exclaiming, ''Let us save our Gen- 
eral ! " at which indignation reached its height, and cries, 
even more violent than ever, were raised ; — that Bonaparte, 
falling insensible into the arms of the grenadiers, said, 
*' They mean to assassinate me ! " All that regards the ex- 
clamations and threats I believe to be correct ; but I rank 
with the story of the poniards the assertion of the mem- 
bers of the Five Hundred being provided with firearms, 
and the grenadiers rushing into the hall ; because Bona- 
parte never mentioned a word of anything of the sort to 
me, either on the way home, or when I was with him in his 
chamber. Neither did he say anything on the subject to 
his wife, who had been extremely agitated by the different 
reports which reached her. 


After Bonaparte left the Council of the Five Hundred 
the deliberations were continued with great violence. The 
excitement caused by the appearance of Bonaparte was 
nothing like subsided when propositions of the most 
furious natm-e were made. The President, Lucien, did all 
in his power to restore tranquilUty. As soon as he could 
make himself heard he said, "The scene which has just 
taken place in the Council proves what are the sentiments 
of all ; sentiments which I declare are also mine. It was, 
however, natural to believe that the General had no other 
object than to render an account of the situation of affairs, 
and of something interesting to the public. But I think 
none of you can suppose him capable of projects hostile 
to hberty." 

Each sentence of Lucien's address was interrupted by 
cries of "Bonaparte has tarnished his glory ! He is a dis- 
grace to the Republic ! " 

Lucien' made fresh efforts to be heard, and wishetl to 
be allowed to address the assembly as a member of the 
Council, and for that purpose resigned the Presidentship 
to ChasaL He begged that the General might be introduced 
again and heard with calmness. But this proposition was 
furiousl}^ opposed. Exclamations of " Outlaw Bonaparte ! 
outlaw him ! " rang through the assembly, and were the 
only reply given to the President. Lucien, who had reas- 
sunied the President's chair, left it a second time, that ho 
might not be constrained to put tlie question of outlawry 
demanded against his brother. Braving the displeasure 
of the assembly, he mounted the tribune, resigned the 

' The noxt younxer brother of Napoleon, ProRident of the Council of the Five 
Hnndrnd in 171W ; Miiiihter of tho Interior, Iht Dfcotnber ITSK» to 1801 ; Anibiissndor 
in Hpnln, 1H<)1 to Dccoinlwr 1801 ; loft Franco in diHt^'raco In 1801 ; retired to I'apal 
SUiU'h; rrirt<)nur in Malta and Knt^land. IHIO to iSM : (Tcatcil by I'opo in 1811 
Trlno*! do Canino and Due dc MuHi^nano ; married HrMly, IT'.M, CliriKtino Hoyer. 
who dle<l 1800 ; matriutl wcondly, 1M(12 or 18():}, a Madame .lonberthon. Of hi.s 
part in the 18th Brumaire Napoleon wild t<) him in 1807. " I well know that you were 
UAeful to mo on the 18th Knnnain-, but it id uot bo clear to nie that you Haved in« 
tbeu "' (lung'b Lucien^ tomo ill. p. bUj. 


Presidentsliip, renounced his seat as a deputy, and threw 
aside his robes. 

Just as Lucien left the Council I entered. Bonaparte, 
who was well informed of all that was passing/ had sent 
in soldiers to the assistance of his brother ; they carried 
him off from the midst of the Council, and Bonaparte 
thought it a matter of no little importance to have with 
him the President of an assembly which he treated as re- 
bellious. Lucien was reinstalled in ojBSce ; but he was 
now to discharge his duties, not in the President's chair, 
but on horseback, and at the head of a party of troops 
ready to undertake anything. Roused by the danger to 
which both his brother and himself were exposed he de- 
livered on horseback the following words, which can never 
be too often remembered, as showing what a man then 
dared to say, who never was anything except from the re- 
flection of his brother's glory : — 

Citizens ! Soldiers ! — Tlie President of the Council of the Five 
Hundred declares to you that the majority of that Council is at this 
moment held in terror by a few representatives of the people, who 
are armed with stilettoes, and who surround the tribune, threaten- 
ing their colleagues with death, and maintaining most-atrocious dis- 

I declare to yoii that these brigands, who are doubtless in the pay 
of England, have risen in rebellion against the Council of the 
Ancients, and have dared to talk of outlawing the General, who is 
charged with the execution of its decree, as if the word " outlaw" 
was still to be regarded as the death-warrant of persons most be- 
loved by their country. 

I declare to you that these madmen have outlawed themselves by 
their attempts upon the liberty of the Council. In the name of 
that people, which for so many years have been the sport of terror- 
ism, I consign to you the charge of rescuing the majority of their 

' Lucien distinctly states that he himself, acting within his right as President, had 
demanded an escort of the grenndiorp of tlie Conncils ns soon as he saw his with- 
drawal might be opposed. Thus the firpt entry of the soldiers with Napoleon would 
be illegal. The second, to withdraw Lucien, was nominally legal (see lung's Luden, 
iom« i. pp. 31&-322). 


representatives ; so that, delivered from stilettoes bj bayonets, they 
may deliberate on the fate of the Republic. 

General, and you, soldiers, and you, citizens, you will not ac- 
knowledge, as legislators of France, any but those who rally round 
me. As for those who remain in the orangery, let force expel 
them. They are not the representatives of the people, but the re- 
presentatives of the poniard. Let that be their title, and let it 
follow them everywhere ; and whenever they dare show themselves 
to the people, let every finger point at them, and every tongue de- 
signate them by the well-merited title of representatives of the 
poniard ! 

Vive la République ! 

Notwithstanding the cries of " Vive Bonaparte ! " which 
followed this harangue, the troops still hesitated. It was 
evident that they were not fully prepared to turn their 
swords against the national representatives. Lucien then 
drew his sword, exclaiming, " I swear that I will stab my 
own brother to the heart if he ever attempt anything 
against the liberty of Frenchmen." This dramatic action 
was perfectly successful ; hesitation vanished ; and at a 
signal given by Bonaparte, Murat, at the head of his 
grenadiers, rushed into the hall, and drove out the repre- 
sentatives. Everyone yielded to the reasoning of bay- 
onets, and thus terminated the employment of the armed 
force on that memorable day. 

At ten o'clock at night the palace of St. Cloud, where 
so many tumultuous scenes had occurred, was perfectly 
tranquil. All the deputies were still there, pacing the 
hall, the corridors, and the courts. Most of them had an 
air of consternation ; others affected to have foreseen the 
event, and to appear satisfied with it ; but all wished to 
return to Paris, which they could not do until a new order 
revoked the order for the removal of the Councils to St. 

At eleven o'clock Bonajmrte, who had eaten nothing all 
day, but who was alinont iiiHCMiHible to physical wants in 
moments of great agitation, said to me, " We must go 


and write, Bourrienne ; I intend this very night to address 
a proclamation to the inhabitants of Paris. To-moiTOw 
morning I shall be all the conversation of the capital." 
He then dictated to me the following proclamation, which 
proves, no less than some of his reports from Egypt, how 
much Bonaparte excelled in the art of t\Nisting the truth 
to his own advantage : — 

To THE People. 

\^th Brumaire, 11 o'^clock, p.m. 

Frenchmen ! — On my return to France I found division reigning 
amongst all the authorities. They agreed only on this single point, 
that the Constitution was half destroyed, and was unable to pro- 
tect liberty ! 

Each party in turn came to me, confided to me their designs, im- 
parted their secrets, and requested my support. I refused to be the 
man of a party. 

The Council of the Ancients appealed to me. I answered their 
appeal. A plan of general restoration had been concerted by men 
whom the nation has been accustomed to regard as the defenders 
of liberty, equality, and property'. This plan required calm and 
free deliberation, exempt from all influence and all fear. The 
Ancients, therefore, resolved upon the removal of the legislative 
bodies to St. Cloud. They placed at my disposal tlie force necessary 
to secure their independence. I was bound, in duty to my fellow- 
citizens, to the soldiers perishing in our armies, and to the national 
glory, acquired at the cost of so much blood, to accept the com- 

The Councils assembled at St. Cloud. Republican troops guar- 
anteed their safety from without, but assassins created terror with- 
in. Many members of the Council of the Five Hundred, armed 
with stilettoes and pistols, spread menaces of death around them. 

The plans which ought to have been developed were withheld. 
The majority of the Council was rendered inefficient ; the boldest 
orators were disconcerted, and the inutility of submitting any salu- 
tary proposition was quite evident. 

I proceeded, filled with indignation and grief, to the Council of 
the Ancients. I besought them to carry their noble designs into 
execution. I directed their attention to the evils of the nation, 
which were their motives for conceiving those designs. They con- 
curred in giving me new proofs of their uniform goodwill. 


I presented myself before the Council of the Five Hundred, 
alone, unarmed, my head uncovered, just as the Ancients had re- 
ceived and applauded me. My object was to restore to the majority 
the expression of its will, and to secure to it its power. 

The stilettoes which had menaced the deputies were instantly 
raised against their deliverer. Twenty assassins rushed upon me 
and aimed at my breast. The grenadiers of the legislative body, 
whom I had left at the door of the hall, ran forward, and placed 
themselves between me and the assassins. One of these brave 
grenadiers (Thome)' had his clothes pierced by a stiletto. They 
bore me off. 

At the same moment cries of "• Outlaw him ! " were raised against 
the defender of the law. It was the horrid cry of assassins against 
the power destined to repress them. 

They crowded round the President, uttering- threats. With arms 
in their hands they commanded him to declare "the outlawry." I 
was informed of this. I ordered him to be rescued from their fury, 
and six grenadiers of the legislative body brought him out. Imme- 
diately afterwards some grenadiers of the legislative body charged 
into the hall and cleared it. 

The factious, intimidated, dispersed and fled. The majority, 
freed from their assaults, returned freely and peaceably into the 
hall, listened to the propositions made for the public safety, de- 
liberated, and drew up the salutary resolution which will become 
the new and provisional law of the Republic. 

Frenchmen, you doubtless recognise in this conduct the zeal of a 
soldier of liberty, of a citizen devoted to the Republic. Conserva- 
tive, tutelary, and liberal ideas resumed their authority upon the 
dispersion of tlie factious, who domineered in the Councils, and 
who, in rendering themselves the most odious of men, did not cease 
to be the most contemptible. 

(Signed) Bomai'aiite, Gc/œr<U, etc. 

The day had been passed in destroying a Government ; 
it was necessary to devote the night to framing a new 
one. Talleyrand, Roidercr, and Sivyè.s were at St. Cloud. 
The Council of the Ancients assembled, and Lucien set 
himself about finding some members of the Five Hun- 

• Thom('> iinToly hftfl n. Hmull \r.\rt of hiH c-oiit turn by u (l«ij)uty, who tiKik liim by 
the c<jlli»r. 'I'hiH (M)nMtlLutcd the whole of the atUmptwl asHUHHinationH of tho lytk 
Brumaire.— Z/oMrr<««/i<, 


dred on whom lie could reckon. lie succeeded in getting 
together only thirty, who, with their President, repre- 
sented the numerous assembly of which they formed part. 
This ghost of representation was essential, for Bonaparte, 
notwithstanding his violation of all law on the preceding 
day, w^ished to make it appear that he was acting legally. 
The Council of the Ancients had, however, already decided 
that a provisional executive commission should be ap- 
pointed, composed of three members, and was about to 
name the members of the commission — a measure which 
should have originated with the Five Hundred — when 
Lucien came to acquaint Bonaparte that his chamber in- 
trouvable was assembled. 

This chamber, which called itself the Council of the 
Five Hundred, though that Council was now nothing but 
a Council of Thirty, hastily passed a decree, the first 
article of which was as follows : — 

The Directory exists no longer ; and the individuals liereafter 
named are no longer members of the national representation, on 
account of the excesses and illegal acts ■u'hich they have constantly 
committed, and more particularly the greatest part of them, in the 
sitting of this morning. 

Then follow the names of sixty-one members expelled. 

By other articles of the same decree the Council in- 
stituted a provisional commission, similar to that which 
the Ancients had proposed to appoint, resolved that the 
sad commission should consist of three members, who 
Bh(nild a^isurae the title of Consuls ; and nominated as 
Ci»ijsuls Sic'ycs, Roger Ducos, and Bonaparte. The other 
jiicn-isi »ns of the nocturnal decree of St. Cloud had for 
their object merely the carrying into effect those already 
described. This nocturnal sitting was very calm, and in- 
deed it would have been strange had it been otherwise, 
for no opposition could be feared from the members of 
the Five Hundi'ed, who were prepared to concur with 


Lucien. All knew beforehand what they would have to 
do. Everything was concluded by three o'clock in the 
morning ; and the palace of St. Cloud, which had been 
so agitated since the previous evening, resumed in the 
morning its wonted stillness, and presented the appear- 
ance of a vast solitude. 

All the hurrying about, the brief notes which I had to 
write to many friends, and the conversations in which I 
was compelled to take part, prevented me from dining be- 
fore one o'clock in the morning. It was not till then that 
Bonaparte, having gone to take the oath as Consul before 
the Five Hundred, afforded me an opportunity of taking 
some refreshment with Admiral Bruix and some other 

At three o'clock in the morning I accompanied Bona- 
parte, in his carriage to Paris. He was extremely fatigued 
after so many trials and fatigues. A new future was 
opened before him. He was completely absorbed in 
thought, and did not utter a single word dunng the jour- 
ney. But when he arrived at his house in the Kue de la 
Victoire, he had no sooner entered his chamber and 
wished good morning to Josephine, who was in bed, and 
in a state of the greatest anxiety ou account of his absence, 
than he said before her, "Bourrienne, I said many ridicu- 
lous things?" — "Not so very bad, General." — **I like bet- 
ter to spoak to soldiers than to lawyers. Those fellows 
disconcerted me. I have not been used to public assem- 
blies ; but that will come in time." 

We then began, all three, to converse. Madame Bona- 
parte became calm, and Bonaparte resumed his wonted 
confidence. The events of the day naturally formed the 
subject of our coTivcrsation. Josephine, who was much 
attached to the Cloliior family, mcntioïKnl tlie name of that 
Director in a tone (;f kindness. " What would you have, 
my dear V " said Bonaparte; to her. "It is not my fault. 
He is a respectable man, but a simpleton. He docs not 


understand me ! — I ought, perhaps, to have him trans- 
ported. He wrote against me to the Council of the An- 
cients ; but I have his letter, and they know nothing 
about it. Poor man ! he expected me to dinner yester- 
day. And this man thinks himself a statesman ! — Speak 
no more of him." 

During our discourse the name of Bernadotte was also 
mentioned. "Have you seen him, Bourrienne?" said 
Bonaparte tome. — "No, General." — "Neither have I. I 
have not heard him spoken of. Would you. imagine it ? 
I had intelligence to-day of many intrigues in which he is 
concerned. Would you believe it? he wished nothing 
less than to be appointed my colleague in authority. He 
talked of mounting his horse and marching with the 
troops that might be placed under his command. He 
wished, he said, to maintain the Constitution : nay, 
more ; I am assured that he had the audacity to add that, 
if it were necessary to outlaw me, the Government might 
come to him and he would find soldiers capable of carr}'- 
ing the decree into execution." — "All this, General, should 
give you an idea how inflexible his principles are." — "Yes, 
I am well aware of it ; there is something in that : he is 
honest. But for his obstinacy, my brothers would have 
brought him over. They are related to him. His wife, 
who is Joseph's sister-in-law, has ascendency over him. 
As for me, have I not, I ask you, made sufficient advances 
to him ? You have witnessed them. Moreau, who has a 
higher military reputation than he, came over to me at 
once. However, I repent of having cajoled Bernadotte. 
I am thinking of separating him from all his coteries 
without any one being able to find fault with the pro- 
ceeding. I cannot revenge myself in any other manner. 
Joseph likes him. I should have everybody against me. 
These family considerations are follies ! Good-night, 
Bourrienne. — By the way, we will sleep in the Luxembourg 


I then left the General, whom, henceforth, I will call 
the First Consul, after having remained with him con- 
stantly during neai'ly twenty-four hours, with the excep- 
tion of the time when he was at the Council of the Five 
Hundred. I retired to my lodging, in the Rue Martel, at 
five o'clock in the morning. 

It is certain that if Gohier had come to breakfast on the 
morning of the 18th Brumaire, according to Madame 
Bonaparte's invitation, he would have been one of the 
members of the Government. But Gohier acted the part 
of the stern republican. He placed himself, according to 
the common phrase of the time, astride of the Constitu- 
tion of the year IH. ; and as his steed made a sad stumble, 
he fell with it. 

It was a singular circumstance which prevented the two 
Directors Gohier and Moulins from defending their be- 
loved Constitution. It was from their respect for the Con- 
stitution that they allowed it to perish, because they would 
have been obliged to violate the article which did not 
allow less than three Directors to deliberate together. 
Thus a king of Castile was burned to death, because there 
did not happen to be in his apartment men of such rank 
as etiquette would permit to touch the person of the 



Greneral approbation of the 18th Brumaire — Distress of the treasury — M. 
Collot's generosity — Bonaparte's ingratitude — Gohier set at liberty — 
Constitution of the year VIII. — The Senate, Tribunate, and Council 
of State — Notes required on the character of candidates — Bonaparte's 
love of integrity and talent — Influence of habit over him — His hatred 
of the Tribunate — Provisional concessions — The first Consular Min- 
istry — Mediocrity of La Place — Proscription lists — Cambaccrès' 
report — M. Moreau de Worms — Character of Sie'yès — Bonaparte at the 
Luxembourg — Distribution of the day and visits — Lebrun 's opposi- 
tion — Bonaparte's singing — His boyish tricks — Resumption of the 
titles "Madame "and "Monseigneur" — The men of the Revolution 
and the partisans of the Bourbons — Bonaparte's fears — Confidential 
notes on candidates for oflBce and the assemblies. 

It cannot be denied tliat France bailed, almost witb unani- 
mous voice, Bonaparte's accession to tbe Consulsbip as a 
blessing of Providence. I do not speak now of tbe ulterior 
consequences of tbat event ; I speak only of tbe fact itself, 
and its first results, sucb as tbe repeal of tbe law of bost- 
ages, and tbe compulsory loan of a bundred millions. 
Doubtless tbe legality of tbe acts of tbe 18tb Brumaire 
may be disputed ; but wbo will venture to say tbat tbe 
immediate result of tbat day ougbt not to be regarded as 
a great blessing to France? Wboever denies tbis can 
bave no idea of tbe wretcbed state of every brancb of tbe 
administration at tbat deplorable epocb. A few persons 
blamed tbe 18tb Brumaire ; but no one regretted tbe 
Directory, witb tbe exception, pcrbups, of tbe five Direc- 
tors tbemselves. But we will say no more of tbe Direc- 
torial Government. Wbat an administration ! In wbat a 


state were the finances of France ! Would it be believed ? 
on the second day of the Consulate, when Bonaparte 
wished to send a courier to General Championet, com- 
mander-in-chief of the army of Italy, the treasury had not 
1200 francs disposable to give to the courier 1 

It may be supposed that in the first moments of a new 
Government money would be wanted. M. Collot, who 
bad sei-ved under Bonaparte in Italy, and whose conduct 
and administration deserved nothing but praise, was one 
of the first who came to the Consul's assistance. In this 
instance M. Collot was as zealous as disinterested. He 
gave the Consul 500,000 francs in gold, for which service 
he was badly rewarded. Bonaparte afterwards behaved 
to M. Collot as though he was anxious to punish him for 
being rich. This sum, which at the time made so fine an 
appearance in the Consular treasury, was not repaid for a 
long time after, and then without interest/ This was 
not, indeed, the only instance in which M. Collot had 
cause to complain of Bonaparte, who was never inclined 
to acknowledge his important services, nor even to render 
justice to his conduct. 

On the morning of the 20th Brumaire Bonaparte sent 
Lis brother Louis to inform the Director Gohier that he was 
free. This haste in relieving Gohier was not without a 
reason, for Bonaparte was anxious to install himself in 
the Luxembourg, and we went there that same evening. 

Everything was to be created. Bonaparte had with 
him almost the whole of the army, and on the soldiers he 
could rely. But the military force was no longer suificieut 
for him. Wishing to possess a great civil power estab- 
lished by legal forms, ho immediately set about the com- 
position of a Senate and Tribunate ; a Council of State and 
a new legislative body, and, finally, a new Constitution.' 

• Jom-ph Riiniip;irtp HtHtcH, howovcr, thiit tliin Hiitn waH lent by M. Collot with an 
expn^HH (lf<;iu rill inn that tic did not wihIi to n-coivc interest (Krrr.urs, tome i. p. 'iVl). 

» The CoriHtitiilion of tlie year VIII. wiik preM-nled on thc! l.'Jth of Duceinlxir 171W 
(2SW Frimaire, jftiai Vlll.;, aud ucoopLcd by the i)fui)lc on tho 7Lh of February IJ09 


As Bonaparte had not time to make himself acquainte(i 
"with the persons by whom he was about to be surrounded» 
he requested from the most distinguished men of the 
period, well acquainted with France and the Revolution, 
notes respecting the individuals worthy and capable of 
entering the Senate, the Tribunate, and the Council of 
State. From the manner in which all these notes were 
drawn up it was evident that the writers of them studied 
to make their recommendation correspond with what they 
conceived to be Bonaparte's views, and that they imag- 
ined he participated in the opinions which were at that 
time popular. Accordingly they stated, as grounds for 
preferring particular candidates, their patriotism, their re- 
publicanism, and their having had seats in preceding 

Of all qualities, that which most influenced the choice 
of the First Consul was inflexible integrity ; and it is but 
just to say that in this particular he was rarely deceived. 
He sought earnestly for talent ; and although he did not 
like the men of the Revolution, he was convinced that he 
could not do without them. He had conceived an ex- 
treme aversion for mediocrity, and generally rejected a 
man of that character when recommended to him ; but if 
he had known such a man long, he yielded to the influ- 
ence of habit, dreading nothing so much as change, or, as 
he was accustomed to say himself, new faces.* 

Bonaparte then proceeded to organise a complaisant 

(18th Phiviofic, year VIII. ). It established a ConBuIar Government, composed of 
Bonaparte, Fir«t Consul, appointed for ten years ; Canibacérès, Second Consul, also 
for ten yeiir« ; and Lobrun, Third Consul, appointed for five years. It established 
a conservative Senate, a lepifilative body of 30<J members, and a Tribunate cora- 
posenl of 100 members. The establishment of the Council of State took place on the 
21th of December 1799. The installation of the new legislative body and the Trib- 
unate was fixed for the Ist of January 1800. — lionrrieiine. Lanfrey (tome i. p. .S29) 
Kees this Constitution foreshadowed in tliat proposed by Napoleon in 1797 for the 
Cisalpine Republic. 

' Naixileon loved only men with strong passions and great weaknesses ; he 
judired the most opp«dite qualities in meu by these defects (^MeUemich, tome iii. 
p. 589). 


Senate, a mute legislative body, and a Tribunate which 
was to have the semblance of being independent, by the 
aid of some fine speeches and high-sounding phrases. 
He easily appointed the Senators, but it was different 
with the Tribunate. He hesitated long before he fixed 
upon the candidates for that body, which inspired him 
with an anticipatory fear. However, on arriving at power 
he dared not oppose himself to the exigencies of the 
moment, and he consented for a time to delude the am- 
bitious dupes who kept up a buzz of fine sentiments 
of liberty around him. He saw that circumstances were 
not yet favourable for refusing a share in the Constitution 
to this third portion of power, destined apparently to 
advocate the interests of the people before the legislative 
body. But in yielding to necessity, the mere idea of the 
Tribunate filled him with the utmost uneasiness ; and, 
in a word, Bonaparte could not endure the public dis- 
cussions on law projects.' 

Bonaparte composed the first Consular Ministry as 
follows : Berthier was Minister of War ; Gaudin, formerly 
employed in the administration of the Post Ofiice, was 
appointed Minister of Finance ; Cambact'rcs remained 
Minister of Justice ; Forfait was Minister of Marine ; La 
Place of the Interior ; Fouche of Police ; and Keinhard 
of Foreign Affairs. "" 

* The Tribunate under this Constitution of the year VIII. was the only body 
allow<'d to debate in public on proi)08ed laws, the leRislative body simply hearing in 
Hilence ttio oratorH sent by the Council of StuU- and by the Tribunate to Htate reasons 
for or against propoKitions, and then Toting in Hilence. ItH orators were constanlly 
giving umbrage to Napoleon. It was at first puri(ie«l, early in lt<0*2, by the Senate 
naming the memliert* to go out in rotation, then re<lucod to from 100 to 50 members 
later in \H))i, and Hiippn-Kwd in 1MJ7 ; its diituppearaucc l)cing regarded by Naj>o- 
Icon aw hiH laht break with the Revolution. 

2 Ilerthier remained Minister of War till 1807 ; Gaudin, later Dhc de Gaèta. htld 
the same ofllce till the end of Nai)oleon"H reign ; Cambacéri-H was koou replaced by 
Abrial ; Forfait was replaced »)y Decn's ; Fouché held the Police till 1S02, when tho 
Ministry was Hupj)resMHl ; and again from its re-cHtabliihinent iu IhOl till 1810. lie 
Ix-camr Due d'Otraiile. 

In giving to Abrial tht; portfolio of the Ministry of JuHtiœ, Bonaparte said to him. 
" Citiwin Abrial, I do not know you, but I atu told you are the; honrKt«v<t man in th« 
miigihtrucy, and that is why 1 name you Miiiiatcr of Juhtito."— i/t»i4rrifl;*««. 

Vol. I.— 19 


Reinhard and La Place were soon replaced, the former 
by the able M. Talleyrand, the latter by Lucien Bona- 
parte.* It may be said that Lucien merely passed through 
the Ministry on his way to a lucrative embassy in Spain. 
As to La Place, Bonaparte always entertained a high 
opinion of his talents. His appointment to the Ministry 
of the Interior was a compliment paid to science ; but it 
was not long before the First Consul repented of his 
choice. La Place, so happily calculated for science, dis- 
played the most inconceivable mediocrity in administra- 
tion. He was incompetent to the most trifling matters ; 
as if his mind, formed to embrace the system of the world, 
and to interpret the laws of Newton and Kepler, could not 
descend to the level of subjects of detail, or apply itself to 
the duties of the dej^artment with which he was entrusted 
for a short, but j^et, with regard to him, too long a time. 

On the 26th Brumaire (17th November 1799) the Con- 
suls issued a decree, in which they stated that, conform- 
ably with Article IH. of the law of the 19th of the same 
month, which especially charged them with the re-estab- 
lishment of public tranquillity, they decreed that thirty- 
eight individuals, who were named, should quit the con- 
tinental territory of the Republic, and for that purpose 
should proceed to Rochefort, to be afterwards conducted 
to, and detained in, the department of French Guiana. 
They likewise decreed that twenty-three other individuals, 
who were named, should proceed to the commune of Ro- 
chelle, in the department of the lower Charente, in order 
to be afterwards fixed and detained in such part of that 
department as should be pointed out by the Minister of 
General Police. I was fortunate enough to keep my friend 
M. Moreau de Worms, deputy from the Yonne, out of the 

1 When I quitted the service of the First Consul Talleyrand was still at the head 
of the Foreign Department. I have frequently been present at this great statesman's 
conferences with Napoleon, and I can declare that I never saw him flatter his 
dreams of ambition ; but, on the contrary, he always endeavoured to make him Ben- 
•iblc of hifl true interceta.— i/owr? iew/te. 


list of exiles. This proscription produced a mischievous 
effect. It bore a character of wanton severity quite incon- 
sistent with the assurances of mildness and moderation 
given at St. Cloud on the 19th Brumaire. Cambacérès 
afterwards made a report, in which he represented that it 
was unnecessary for the maintenance of tranquilHty to sub- 
ject the proscribed to banishment, considering it sufficient 
to place them under the supervision of the superior police. 
Upon receiving the report the Consuls issued a decree, in 
which they directed all the individuals included in the pro- 
scription to retire respectively into the different communes 
which should be fixed upon by the Minister of Justice, 
and to remain there until further orders. 

At the period of the issuing of these decrees Siéyès was 
still one of the Consuls, conjointly with Bonaparte and 
Roger Ducos ; and although Bonaparte had, from the first 
moment, possessed the whole power of the government, 
a sort of apparent equality was, nevertheless, observed 
amongst them. It was not until the 25th of December 
that Bonaparte assumed the title of First Consul, Cam- 
bacérès and Lebrun being then joined in the office with 
him. He had fixed his eyes on them previously to the 
18th Brumaire, and he had no cause to reproach them 
with giving him much embarrassment in his raj^id pro- 
gress towards the imperial throne. 

I have stated that I was so fortunate as to rescue M 
Moreau de Worms from the list of proscription. Some 
days after Sii'ycs entered Bonaparte's cabinet and said to 
bim, " Well, this M. Moreau de Worms, whom M. Bour- 
rienne induced you to save from banishment, is acting 
very finely ! I told you how it would be ! I have received 
from Sens, his native place, a letter which informs me that 
Moreau is in tliat town, where he has assembled the peo- 
ple in the market-place, and indulged in the most violent 
declamations against the 18th Brumaire." — ** Can you rely 
upon your agent? " asked Bonaparte. " Perfectly. I can 


answer for the truth of bis communicatioD." Bonaparte 
showed me the bulletm of Sié^'ès' agent, and reproached 
me bitterly. " What would you say, General," I observed, 
** if I should present this same M. Moreau de Worms, who 
is declaiming at Sens against the 18th Brumaire, to you 
witbin an hour? " — " I defy you to do it." — " I have made 
myself responsible for him, and I know what I am about. 
He is violent in his politics ; but he is a man of honour, 
incapable of failing in his word." — "Well, we shall see. 
Go and find him." I was very sure of doing what I had 
promised, for within an hour before I had seen M. Moreau 
de Worms. He had been concealed since the 19th Bru- 
maire, and had not quitted Paris. Nothing was easier than 
to find him, and in three-quarters of an hour he was at the 
Luxembourg. I presented him to Bonaparte, who con- 
versed with him a long time concerning the 18th Bru- 
maire. When M. Moreau departed Bonaparte said to me, 
"You are right. That fool Sicyès is as inventive as a 
Cassandra. This proves that one should not be too ready 
to believe the reports of the wretches whom we are obliged 
to employ in the police." Afterwards he added, "Bour- 
rienne, Moreau is a nice fellow : I am satisfied with him ; 
I will do something for him." It was not long before M. 
Moreau experienced the effect of the Consul's good opin- 
ion. Some days after, whilst framing the council of prizes, 
he, at my mere suggestion, appointed M. Moreau one of 
the members, with a salary of 10,000 francs. On what 
extraordinary circumstances the fortunes of men frequently 
depend ! As to Sioyes, in the intercourse, not very fre- 
quent certainly, wdiich I had with him, he ax3peared to be 
far beneath the reputation which he then enjoyed.' He 

' M. tie Talleyrand, who is so capable of estimating mun, and whose admirable 
fwiyings well deserve to occupy a place in history, had long entertained a similar 
opinion of 8i(!'yos. One day, when he waH conversing with the Second Consul con- 
cernmg Siéyès, Cambacérès said to him, " Sii-y^R, however, is a very profound man." 
—•'Profound?" said Talleyrand. " Yea, he ia a cavity, a perfect cavity, as you 
would &».y y—JiouiTUnnt. 


reposed a blind confidence in a multitude of agents, whom 
he sent into all parts of France. When it happened, on 
other occasions, that I proved to him, by evidence as suffic- 
ient as that in the case of ]VL Moreau, the falseness of the 
reports he had received, he replied, with a confidence truly 
ridiculous, " I can rely on my men. " Siéyès had written 
in his countenance, " Give me money ! " I recollect that 
I one day alluded to this expression in the anxious face of 
Siéyès to the First Consul. " You are right," observed he 
to me, smiHng ; "when money is in question, Siéyès is 
quite a matter-of-fact man. He sends his ideology to the 
right about and thus becomes easily manageable. He 
readily abandons his constitutional dreams for a good 
round sum, and that is very convenient." ' 

Bonaparte occupied, at the Little Luxembourg, the 
apartments on the ground floor which lie to the right on 
entering from the Kue de Vaugirard. His cabinet was 
close to a private staircase, which conducted me to the 
first floor, where Josephine dwelt. My apartment was 

After breakfast, which was served at ten o'clock, Bona- 
parte would converse for a few moments with his usual 
guests, that is to say, his aides de camp, tlie persons he 
invited, and myself, who never left him. He was also 
visited very often by Defermont, Reguault (of the town of 
St. Jean d'Angély), Boulay (de la Mcurthe), Monge, and 
Berlier, who were, with his brothers, Joseph and Lucien, 
those whom he most delighted to see ; he conversed famil- 
iarly witli them. Cambacérès generally came at raid-day, 
and stayed some time with him, often a whole hour. 
Lebrun visited but seldom. Notwithstanding his eleva- 
tion, his character remained unaltered ; and Bonaparte 

> Everybody know», In fact, that SiôyÙH rufumjil to rosijru IiIh coiiHular UiKiiities 
unleuH ho received in vxchant^u ii beuuttful fiirin Hitimtoil in tlie pnrk of ViTsullle*, 
and worth about 15,000 livruH a year. The (^ood ublx' conHolt-d hiinsolf for no longer 
tonning a third of the ropublican Hovor('i>cniy by iniikluK himnclf at home lu th« 
ancient domain of the hLiugu of France. — Bourricntie, 


considered him too moderate, because lie always opposed 
his ambitious views and his plans to usurp power. When 
Bonaparte left the breakfast -table it was seldom that he 
did not add, after bidding Josephine and her daughter 
Hortense good-day, " Come, Bourrienne, come, let us to 

After the morning audiences I stayed with Bonaparte 
all the day, either reading to him, or writing to his dicta- 
tion. Three or four times in the week he w^ould go to 
the Council. On his way to the hall of deliberation he 
was obliged to cross the courtyard of the Little Luxem- 
bourg and ascend the grand staircase. This always vexed 
him, and the more so as the weather was very bad at the 
time. This annoyance continued until the 25th of De- 
cember, and it was with much satisfaction that he saw 
himself quit of it. After leaving the Council he used to 
enter his cabinet singing, and God knows how wretchedly 
he sung ! He examined whatever work he had ordered 
to be done, signed documents, stretched himself in his 
arm-chair, and read the letters of the preceding day and 
the publications of the morning. When there was no 
Council he remained in his cabinet, conversed with me, 
always sang, and cut, according to custom, the arm of his 
chair, giving himself sometimes quite the air of a great 
boy. Then, all at once starting up, lie would describe a 
plan for the erection of a monument, or dictate some of 
those extraordinary productions which astonished and 
dismayed the world. He often became again the same 
man who, under the walls of St. Jean d'Acre, had dreamed 
of an empire worthy his ambition. 

At five o'clock dinner was served up. When that was 
over the First Consul went upstairs to Josephine's apart- 
ments, where he commonly received the visits of the 
Ministers. He was always pleased to see among the num- 
ber the Minister o^ Foreign Affairs, especially since the 
portfolio of that department had been entrusted to the 


hands of M. de Talleyrand. At midnight, and often 
sooner, he gave the signal for retiring by saying in a hasty 
manner, '^Allons nous coucher." 

It was at the Luxembourg, in the salons of which the 
adorable Josephine so well performed the honours, that the 
word Madame came again into use. This first return to- 
wards the old French politeness was startling to some sus- 
ceptible Kepublicans ; but things were soon carried farther 
at the Tuileries by the introduction of Votre Altesse on 
occasions of state ceremony, and Monseigneur in the 
family circle. 

If, on the one hand, Bonaparte did not like the men of 
the Revolution, on the other he dreaded still more the 
partisans of the Bourbons. On the mere mention of 
the name of those princes he experienced a kind of inward 
alarm ; and he often spoke of the necessity of raising a 
wall of brass between France and them. To this feeling, 
no doubt, must be attributed certain nominations, and 
the spirit of some recommendations contained in the 
notes with which he was supplied on the characters of 
candidates, and which for ready reference were arranged 
alphabetically. Some of the notes just mentioned were in 
the handwriting of Regnault de St. Jean d'Angely, and 
some in Lucien Bonaparte's.' 

» Among them waH the following, under the title of "General ObaervjitionR":— 
" In choosing among the men who were members of the Constituent AsHeinbly it is 
noccRsary to be on guard af,'uinKt the Orleans' party, which is not altogether % 
chimera, and may one day or other prove dnngerous. 

"Then; is no doubt that the i/artisans of that family are intriguing secretly; 
and among many other proofH of ^his fa(;t the following is a striking om^ : the jour- 
nal ciilli'd the Ariatarque, which undisguisedly supports royalisin, is conducted by a 
man of the name of Voidul, one of the hottest patriots of the Revolution. He wai 
for several months presidi^nt of the commilteo of inquiry which caused the Mnrquis 
de Favras to be arrested and hanged, and gave so much uneasinens to the Coiu-t. 
There was no one in the Coiistitiient Assembly more hateful to the Court than 
Voidel, as much on account of his violence as for his connection with the Duke of 
Oiieuiif. whose advocate and counsel he was. When the Duke of Oiieiins wai ar- 
rested, Voidol, braving the fury of the revolutionary tribunals, had the courage to 
defend him, and placarded all the walls of Paris with an njwlogy for the Duko and 
his two sons. This uuiii, writing now in favour of royallsm, can have no other «bject 
than to advance a member of the Orleans family to the throne."— JïourfKniM. 


At the commencement of the First Consul's administra- 
tion, though he always consulted the notes he had collected, 
he yet received with attention the recommendations of 
persons with whom he was well acquainted ; but it was 
not safe for them to recommend a rogue or a fool. The 
men whom he most disliked were those whom he called 
babblers, who are continually prating of everything and on 
everything. He often said, "I want more head and less 
tongue." What he thought of the regicides will be seen 
farther on, but at first the more a man had given a gage 
to the Revolution, the more he considered him as offering 
a guarantee against the return of the former order of 
things. Besides, Bonaparte was not the man to attend 
to any consideration when once his policy was con- 

As I have said a few pages back, on taking the govern- 
ment into his own hands Bonapai-te knew so little of the 
Revolution and of the men engaged in civil employments 
that it was indispensably necessary for him to collect in- 
formation from every quarter respecting men and things. 
But when the conflicting passions of the moment became 
more calm and the spirit of party more prudent, and when 
order had been, by his severe investigations, introduced 
where hitherto unbridled confusion had reigned, he be- 
came gradually more scrupulous in granting places, 
whether arising from newly-created offices, or from those 
changes which the different departments often experi- 
enced. He then said to me, '' Bourrienne, I give up your 
department to you. Name whom you please for the ap- 
pointments ; but remember you must be res2)onsible to 

What a list would that be which should contain the 
names of all the prefects, sub-prefects, receivers-general, 
and other civil officers to whom I gave places ! I have 
kept no memoranda of their names ; and indeed, what 
advantage would there have been in doing so? It was 


impossible for me to have a personal knowledge of all the 
fortunate candidates ; but I relied on recommendations 
in which I had confidence. 

I have little to complain of in those I obliged ; though 
it is true that, since mj separation from Bonaparte, I have 
seen many of them take the opposite side of the street in 
which I was walking, and by that delicate attention save 
me the trouble of raising my hat 



Difficulties of a new Government — State of Europe — Bonaparte's wish 
for peace — M. de Talleyrand Minister for Foreign Affairs — Nepjotia- 
tions with England and Austria — Their failure — Bonaparte's views on 
the East — His sacrifices to policy — General Bonaparte denounced to 
the First Consul — Kleber's letter to the Director}' — Accounts of the 
Egyptian expedition published in the Monitoa- — Proclamation to the 
army of the East — Favour and disgrace of certain individuals ac- 
counted for. 

When a new Government rises on the ruins of one that 
has been overthrown, its best chance of concihating the 
favour of the nation, if that nation be at war, is to hold 
out the pros2:>ect of peace ; for peace is always dear to a 
people. Bonaparte was well aware of this ; and if in his 
heart he wished otherwise, he knew how important it was 
to seem to desire peace. Accordingly, immediately after 
his installation at the Luxembourg he notified to all the 
foreign powers his acccession to the Consulate, and, for 
the same purpose, addressed letters to all the diplomatic 
agents of the French Government abroad. 

The day after he got rid of his first two colleagues, 
Siéyès and Roger Ducos, he prepared to open negotia- 
tions with the Cabinet of London. At that time we were 
at war with almost the whole of Europe. "We had also 
lost Italy. The Emperor of Germany was ruled by his 
IMinisters, who in their turn were governed by England. 
It was no easy matter to manage equally the organisation 
of the Consular Government and the no less important af- 
fairs abroad ; and it was very important to the interests 


of the First Consul to intimate to foreign powers, -while 
at the same time he assured himself against the return of 
the Bourbons, that the system which he proposed to adopt 
was a system of order and regeneration, unlike either the 
demagogic violence of the Convention or the imbecile arti- 
fice of the Directory. In fulfilment of this object Bona- 
parte directed M. de Talleyrand, the new Minister for 
Foreign Affairs, to make the first friendly overtures to 
the English Cabinet. A correspondence ensued, which 
was published at the time, and which showed at once the 
conciliatory policy of Bonaparte and the arrogant policy 
of England. ' 

Ï We give here the ojiening letters of this remarkable correspondence. 

Pabis, le 5 Nivôse, an. VIII. i2&th December 1799). 
"French Republic. 
" Sovereignty of the People— Liberty— Equality. 

•* Bonaparte, First Consul of the Kepubltc. to His Majesty thk 
King of Great Britain and Ireland. 

" Called by the wishes of the French nation to occupy the First Magistracy of th« 
Repubiic, I have thought proper, in commencing the discharge of the duties of this 
office, to commnnicate the event directly to your Majesty. 

" Must the war which for eight years has ravaged the four quarters of the world 
be eternal ? Is there no room for accommodation ? How can the two most en- 
lightened nations in Europe, stronger and more powei-ful than is necessary for their 
safety and independence, sacrifice commercial advantages, internal prosperity, and 
domestic hai)pine8(< to vain ideas of gr;indenr ? Whence is it that they do not foci 
peace to be the first of wants as well as the first of glories ? 

" These sentiments cannot bo new to the hcait of yonr Majesty, who rules over a 
free nation with no other view than to render iL happj-. 

" Your Majesty will see in this overture only my sincere desire to contribute 
effectually, for the second time, to a general pacification by a prompt step taken in 
confidence, and freed from those forms which, however neeespnry to disguise the 
«P))rehensions of feeble States, only serve to discover in those that are powerful a 
mutual wish to deceive. 

" France and EiiRland may, by the abuse of their strength, long defer the period 
of itfi uttxîr exhaustion, unhappily for nil nations. But I will venture to sny that 
the fate ot all civilised nations is concerned in the terminatlou of a war the fiamca 
of which are raging throughout the whole world. 

" I have the honour to be, etc., 

" (Signed) Bonaparte.»» 

"Lord Grbnviixe in reply to the Minister of Forkion Relations 

at I'ARIH. 

" Downing Strret, Ath Janunrj/ 1800. 
" Sir— I have received and luid before the King the two letters which you bav« 


The exchange of notes which took place was attended 
by no immediate result. However, the First Consul had 
partly attained his object: if the British Government 
would not enter into negotiations for peace, there was at 
least reason to presume that subsequent overtures of the 
Consular Government might be listened to. The corre- 
spondence had at all events afforded Bonaparte the oppor- 
tunity of declaring his principles, and above all, it had 
enabled him to ascertain that the return of the Bourbons 
to France [mentioned in the official reply of Lord Gren- 
ville] would not be a nine qua non condition for the res- 
toration of peace between the two powers. 

Since M. de Talleyrand had been Minister for Foi-eign 
Affairs the business of that department had proceeded 
with great activity. It was an important advantage to 
Bonaparte to find a nobleman of the old regime among the 
republicans. The choice of M. de Talleyrand was in some 
sort an act of courtesy to the foreign Courts. It was a 
delicate attention to the diplomacy of Europe to introduce 
to its members, for the purpose of treating with them, a 
man whose rank was at least equal to their own, and who 
was universally distinguished for a polished . elegance of 
manner combined with solid good qualities and real 

It was not only with England that Bonaparte and his 
Minister endeavoured to open negotiations ; the Consular 
Cabinet also offered peace to the House of Austria ; but 
not at the same time. The object of this offer was to 

transmitted to me ; and hip Majepty, seeing no reason to depart from those forms 
which have long been estabhshed in Europe for transacting business with Foreign 
States, has commanded me to return, in his name, the official answer which I send 
you herewith enclosed. 

" I have the honour to be, with high consideration, Sir, your most obedient humble 

"(Signed) Grenvillk." 

TJie offlcial letter of Lord GrenviUe to the ilinisier of Foreign Affairs, and Tallejf' 
rand's reply to it, wiH be/ounU in the edition <y/1836, hut are too lengthy to repro* 
duce here. 



sow discord between the two powers. Speaking to me 
one day of his earnest wish to obtain peace Bonaparte 
said, " You see, Bourrienne, I have two great enemies to 
cope with. I will conclude peace with the one I find most 
easy to deal with. That will enable me immediate^ to 
assail the other. I frankly confess that I should like best 
to be at peace with England. Nothing would then be 
more easy than to crush Austria. She has no money ex- 
cept what she gets through England." 

For a long time all negotiations proved abortive. None 
of the European powers would acknowledge the new 
Government, of which Bonaparte was the head ; and the 
battle of Marengo was required before the peace of 
Amiens could be obtained. 

Though the affairs of the new Government afforded 
abundant occupation to Bonaparte, he yet found leisure 
to direct attention to the East — to that land of despotism 
whence, judging from his subsequent conduct, it might 
be presumed he derived his first principles of government. 
On becoming the head of the State he wished to turn 
Egypt, which he had conquered as a general, to the ad- 
vantage of his policy as Consul. If Bonaparte triumphed 
over a feeling of dislike in consigning the command of 
the army to Kleber, it was because he knew Klcber to be 
more capable than any other of executing the plans he 
had formed ; and Bonaparte was not the man to sacrifice 
the interests of policy to personal resentment. It is cer- 
tainly ti-ue tliat lie then put into practice that charming 
phrase of Molièro's — "I pardon you, but you shall pay 
me for this ! " 

Witli respect to all whom he had left in Egypt Bona- 
parte stood in a very singular situation. On becoming 
Chief of the Gov(!rnmout ho was not only the depositary 
of all comnnmications made to the Directory ; but letters 
Bent to one address were delivered to another, and tho 
First Consul received the complaints made against tho 


General who had so abruptly quitted Egypt. In almost 
all the letters that were dehvered to us he was the object 
of serious accusation. According to some he had not 
avowed his departure until the very day of his embarka- 
tion ; and he had deceived everybody by means of false 
and dissembling proclamations. Others canvassed his 
conduct while in Egypt : the army which had triumphed 
under his command he had abandoned when reduced to 
two-thirds of its original force and a prey to all the 
horrors of sickness and want. It must be confessed that 
these complaints and accusations were but too well 
founded, and one can never cease wondering at the chain 
of fortunate circumstances which so rapidly raised Bona- 
parte to the Consular seat. In the natural order of 
things, and in fulfilment of the design which he him- 
self had formed, he should have disembarked at Toulon, 
where the quarantine laws would no doubt have been ob- 
served ; instead of which, the fear of the English and the 
uncertainty of the pilots caused him to go to Frejus, where 
the quarantine laws were violated by the very persons 
most interested in resj^ecting them. Let us suppose that 
Bonaparte had been forced to perform quarantine at 
Toulon. What would have ensued ? The charges against 
him would have fallen into the hands of the Directory, 
and he would probably have been suspended, and put 
upon his trial. 

Among the letters which fell into Bonaparte's hands, 
by reason of the abrupt change of government, was an 
official despatch (of the 4th Vendémiaire, year Ym.) from 
General Kléber at Cairo to the Executive Directory, in 
which that general spoke in very stringent terms of the 
sudden departure of Bonaparte and of the state in which 
the army in Egypt had been left. General Kléber further 
accused him of having evaded, by his flight, the difficulties 
which he thus transferred to his successor's shoulders, 
and also of leaving the ai'my " without a sou in the chest," 


with pay in arrear, and very little supply of munitions or 

The other letters from Egypt were not less accusatory 
than Kléber's ; and it cannot be doubted that charges of 
BO precise a nature, brought by the general who had now 
become commander-in-chief against his predecessor, 
would have had great weight, especially backed as they 
were by similar complaints from other quarters. A trial 
would have been inevitable ; and then, no 18th Bi-umaire, 
no Consulate, no Empire, no conquest of Europe — but 
also, it may be added, no St. Helena. None of these 
events would have ensued had not the English squadron, 
when it appeared off Corsica, obliged the Muiron to scud 
about at hazard, and to touch at the first land she could 

The Egyptian expedition filled too important a place in 
the life of Bonaparte for him to neglect frequently re- 
viving in the public mind the recollection of his conquests 
in the East. It was not to be forgotten that the head of 
the Republic was the first of her generals. While 
Moreau received the command of the armies of the 
Rhine, while Massena, as a reward for the victory of 
Zurich, was made Commander-in-Chief in Italy, and 
while Brune was at the head of the army of Batavia, 
Bonaparte, whose soul was in the camps, consoled him- 
self for his temporary inactivity by a retrospective glance 
on his past triumphs. He was unwilling that Fame 
should for a moment cease to bLizon his name. Accord- 
ingly, as soon as he was established at the head of the 
Government, he caused accounts of his Egyptian expedi- 
tion to be from time to time published in the Moniteur. 
He frequently expressed his satisfaction that the accusa- 
tory correspondence, and, above all, Kk'ber's letter, had 
fallen into his own hands.' Such was Bonaparte's perfect 

• Jon^ph lk)nRparte ( Krreurs, tomn i. p. aCT)) niiimrki on thl» pRfwapre : " Having 
oomuiuuiuaUxl Lhlit iuttur U> uo, tbu Cuutiul, luuKhing at my iudiguation, iiaid, ' If 


Belf-command that immediately after perusing that letter 
he dictated to me the following proclamation, addressed 
to the army of the East : — 

Soldiers! — The Consuls of the French Republic frequently 
direct their attention to the array of the East. 

France acknowledges all the influence of your conquests on the 
restoration of her trade and the civilisation of the world. 

The eyes of all Europe are upon you, and in thought I am often 
with you. 

In whatever situation the chances of war may place you, prove 
yourselves still the soldiers of Rivoli and Aboukir — you will be in- 

Place in Klcber the boundless confidence which you reposed in 
me. He deserves it. 

Soldiers, think of the day when you will return victorious to the 
sacred territory of France. That will be a glorious day for the 
whole nation. 

Nothing can more forcibly show the character of Bona- 
parte than the above allusion to Kléber, after he had seen 
the way in which Kléber spoke of him to the Directory. 
Could it ever have been imagined that the correspondence 
of the army, to whom he addressed this proclamation, 
teemed with accusations against him? Though the major- 
ity of these accusations were strictly just, yet it is but fair 
to state that the letters from Egypt contained some 
calumnies. In answer to the well-founded j^ortion of the 
charges Bonaparte said little ; but he seemed to feel deep- 
ly the falsehoods that were stated against him, one of 
which was, that he had carried away millions from Egypt. 
I cannot conceive what could have given rise to this false 
and impudent assertion. So far from having touched 
the army chest, Bonaparte had not even received all bis 
own pay. Before he constituted himself the Government 
the Government was his debtor. 

KltSberwere hore, I would appoint him Governor of Paris, and ho would do good 
Borvice.' " But «ce also Miot'fi account of tho reception of the news of the death of 
Kléber, when ho says Napoleon (as reported by Joseph, it is true) looked on it aa a 
Jresh favour of fortune {STiot, tome i. p. 290). 


Though he knew well all that was to be expected from 
the Eg3'ptian expedition, yet those who lauded that affair 
were regarded with a favourable eye by Bonaparte. The 
correspondence which had fallen into his hands was to him 
of the highest importance in enabling him to ascertain the 
opinions which particular individuals entertained of him. 
It was the source of favours and disgraces which those 
who were not in the secret could not account for. It 
serves to explain why many men of mediocrity were ele- 
vated to the highest dignities and honours, while other 
men of real merit fell into disgrace or were utterly 
neglected. * 

1 Bonaparte's praise of General Kléber, after that general's attack upon him to 
the Directory alluded to over leaf, which may be due only ta the policy of the 
moment, should, however, be borne in mind. 

Vol. I.— 20 

SÛ6 1800. 



Great and common men — Portrait of Bonaparte— The varied expression of 
his countenance — His convulsive shrug — Presentiment of his cor- 
pulency — Partiality for bathing — His temperance — His alleged capa- 
bility of dispensing with sleep — (îood and bad news — Shaving, and 
reading the journals — Morning business — Breakfast — Coflfee and snuflf 
— Bonaparte's idea of his own situation — His ill opinion of mankind — • 
His dislike of a tHe-à-U'te — His hatred of the Revolutionists — Ladies 
in white — Anecdotes — Bonaparte's tokens of kindness, and his droU 
compliments — His fits of iU humour — Sound of bells — Gardens of 
Malmaison — His opinion of medicine — His memory — His poetic in- 
sensibility — His want of gallantry — Cards and conversation — The 
dress-coat and black cravat — Bonaparte's payments — His religious 
ideas — His obstinacy. 

In perusing the history of the distinguished characters of 
past ages, how often do we regret that the historian should 
have portrayed the hero rather than the man ! "We wish 
to know even the most trivial habits of those whom great 
talents and vast reputation have elevated above their 
fellow -creatures. Is this the effect of mere curiosity, or 
rather is it not an involuntary feeling of vanity which 
prompts us to console ourselves for the superiority of 
great men by reflecting on their faults, their weaknesses, 
their absurdities ; in short, all the points of resemblance 
between them and common men ? For the satisfaction of 
those who are curious in details of this sort, I will here 
endeavour to paint Bonaparte, as I saw him, in person and 
in mind, to describe what were his tastes and habits, and 
even his whims and cajDrices. 

Bonaparte was now in the prime of life, and about thirty. 


The person of Bonaparte has served as a model for the- 
most skilful painters and sculptors ; many able French 
artists have successfully delineated his features, and yet it 
may be said that no perfectly faithful portrait of him exists. 
His finely-shaped head, his superb forehead, his pale 
countenance, and his usual meditative look, have been 
transferred to the canvas ; but the versatility of his ex- 
pression was beyond the reach of imitation. All the 
various workings of his mind were instantaneously de- 
picted in his countenance ; and his glance changed from 
mild to severe, and from angry to good-humoured, almost 
with the rapidity of lightning. It may truly be said that 
he had a particular look for every thought that arose in 
his mind. 

Bonaparte had beautiful hands, and he was very proud 
of them ; while conversing he would often look at them 
with an air of self-complacency. He also fancied he had 
fine teeth, but his pretension to that advantage was not so 
well founded as his vanity on the score of his hands. 

When walking, either alone or in company with any one, 
in his apartments or in his gardens, he had the habit of 
stooping a little, and crossing his hands behind his back. 
He frequently gave an involuntary shrug of his right 
shoulder, which was accompanied by a movement of his 
mouth from left to right. This habit was always most re- 
markable when his mind was absorbed in the considera- 
tion of any profound subject. It was often while wallving 
that he dictated to me his most important notes.' Ho 

> Napoleon alwayn walked while dictatlnpr. H« sometimcH bopan while seated, 
but at the first word he roHe. Ho bopan wiilkinp: in the room wh<-ni he wa», and 
walked up and doivn it. Thin iiromonadd lasted all the time he was dictating. A« 
he entered into his Bubjo<;t he oxperleucod a sort of '* tic," oonHJHtinR in a movement 
of hlH riKht arm, which ho twiutod, while puUinj? with hiw hand the llninpof the cuff 
of hlH roat. Rtill. hiH delivery wan not quickenetl by this movement, hiH step was 
also glow and meaHured. 

ExprcBHionH came without crlTort U) render hifl thouRhta. Tf they were sometiinoa 
Incorrect, thl» very inœrro<:tn««H added t«i their energy, and ahvavK marvellously 
depicted to the mind what h« winhed to wiy. . . . Napoleon whlom wrolo him- 
•clf. Wrltiug wuji u fatigue for him. Ulu bund could uot follow thu rapidity of Uia 


could endure great fatigue, not only on horseback but on 
foot ; he would sometimes walk for five or six hours in 
succession without being aware of it. 

When walking with any person whom he treated with 
familiarity he would link his arm into that of his com- 
panion, and lean on it. 

He used often to say to me, ''You see, Boumenne, 
how temperate, and how thin I am ; but, in spite of that, 
I cannot help thinking that at forty I shall become a great 
eater, and get very fat. I foresee that my constitution 
will undergo a change. I take a great deal of exercise ; 
but yet I feel assured that my presentiment will be ful- 
filled." This idea gave him great uneasiness, and as I 
observed nothing which seemed to warrant his appre- 
hensions, I omitted no opportunity of assuring him that 
they were groundless. But he would not listen to me, and 
all the time I was about him, he was haunted by this pre- 
sentiment, which, in the end, was but too well verified. 

His partiality for the bath he mistook for a necessity. 
He would usually remain in the bath two hours, during 
which time I used to read to him extracts from the journals 
and pamphlets of the day, for he was anxious to hear and 
know all that was going on. While in the bath he was 
continually turning on the warm water to raise the temper- 
ature, 30 that I was sometimes enveloped in such a dense 

conception. His writing was an asseniblage of indecipherable characters without 
connection. Half of the letters of each word were deficient. He could not read it 
over himself or would not take the trouble to do so. If any explanation were asked 
of hira, he retook his draft, which he tore or threw into the fire, while he dictated 
afresh, giving the same ideas, but with different expressions and words. His spelling 
was incorrect, though he knew well enough to point out errors in the writing^s of 
others. ... In figures, where there is absolute and positive exactness. Napoleon 
also committed errors. It is, however, right to say that these errors were not always 
committed undesignedly. For instance, he always increased the total of the number 
of men composing his battalions, regiments, and divisions. Whatever representa- 
tions were made to him he repulsed the evidence, and obstinately persisted in his 
Toluntary error in calculation. His writing was illegible, and he detested any writings 
which were difficult to read. His notes, or the few lines he happened to write, and 
which did not require nny effort of the mind, were generally exempt from faalta of 
spelling, except in certain words which were always wrong. For LoBtance, he wrote 
♦'cabinet" a^ "cabinet " {Mewvul^ tome iii. p. 11&-121). 


vapour that I could not see to read, and was obliged to 
open the door/ 

Bonaparte was exceedingly temperate, and averse to all 
excess. He knew the absurd stories that were circulated 
about him, and he was sometimes vexed at them. It has 
been repeated, over and over again, that he was subject to 
attacks of epilepsy ; but during the eleven years that I was 
almost constantly with him I never observed any symptom 
which in the least degree denoted that malady. His health 
was good and his constitution sound. If his enemies, by 
way of reproach, have attributed to him a serious peri- 
odical disease, his flatterers, probably under the idea that 
sleep is incompatible with greatness, have evinced an equal 
disregard of truth in speaking of his night- watching. 
Bonaparte made others watch, but he himself slept, and 
slept well. His orders were that I should call him every 
morning at seven. I was therefore the first to enter his 
chamber ; but very frequently when I awoke him he would 
turn himself, and say, " Ah, Bourrieune ! let me lie a little 
longer." When there was no very pressing business I did 
not disturb him again till eight o'clock. He in general 
slept seven hours out of the twenty-four, besides taking a 
short nap in the afternoon.' 

' At St. Helena he is Baid to have continned in the bath three hours at a time. 
May not his immoderate use of baths of very high temperature have contributed t« 
produce the premature cori)ulen(;y which he ho (crf^itly dreaded V 1 recollect having 
Hcvcral times liintod such a ponsibility to him. -Hourrienne. 

' Bonaparte ro>(c at uncertain hours, but ordinarily at peven o'clock. When he 
awoke in the niKht he sometimes bo^an to work, or liebuthed, or ate. His awakon- 
inpf was ijemirally jneiaiicholy, and appeared painful. Not infrecpiently ho had 
oonvtilHive «jmihuih in the stomacli, whicrh made fiirn vomit. Sometimes he seemed 
much diwjnictc'd by Huch attacks, as it lie dn-adcd hiiviuK' been poisoned, and then 
there was ^rroat dilTlculty to prevent him increasing; this tendency by trying all ho 
could to excite the vomiting;. I have this detail from CurviKart, his chief physiclAii 
(liémuMrit, tome li. j). '.V'.H). 

Napoleon know that I (Moneval) did not |>ossos8 the i»r«clons faculty enjoyed by 
him of slcepinjc at will, and that it was imiiossible for mo to sleep during the ilay. 
After any work which had oc< iipicd part of the night Jie recommemled me to take a 
bath, aiifl ofuni he himnelf gave orders fur pnspiiring one for me. Hometinu>8 ho 
poHBcd entire days without working, aud still he did not leave his jialaco or evi-u his 
•ablnot. Uu suvuiud puzzlud huw tu uuipluy his time ua huuU day a gf au idleuuaii 


Among the private instructions whicli Bonaparte gave 
me, one was very curious. "During the night," said he, 
" enter my chamber as seldom as possible. Do not awake 
me when you have any good news to communicate : with 
that there is no hurry. But when you bring bad news, 
rouse me instantly ; for then there is not a moment to be 

This was a wise regulation, and Bonaparte found his 
advantage in it. 

As soon as he rose his valet de chambre shaved him and 
dressed his hair. While he was being shaved I read to 
him the newspapers, beginning alwa\'s with the Moniteur.^ 
He paid little attention to any but the German and Eng- 
lish papers. " Pass over all that," he would say, while I 
was pel-using the French papers ; "I know it already. 
They say only what they think will please me." I was 
often sui-prised that his valet did not cut him while I was 

which was only apparent, for if the body were inactive his mind was not. He would 
pass an hour with the Bmpress, then return, sit on his sofa and sleep, or appear to 
sleep, for some moments. He would then sit on a corner of my desk, or on the arm 
of my chair, sometimes on my knees, he would put his arm round my neck, and 
amnse himself by gently palling my ear. or striking me on the shoulder or cheek. 
He talked disjointedly of himself, his fancies, his organisation, of me, or of any plan 
he had in his head. He liked to jest on one, but never in a rough or disagreeablo 
manner, but, on the contrary, laughingly and with real kindness. . . . He read 
aloud, then he closod the book and walked up and down, declaiming. . . . Th« 
passages he repeated with the most pleasure were 

" J"ai servi, commando, vaincu, quarante années." 
" Du monde entre mes mains j"ai vu les destinées." 
" Et j'ai toujours connu qu'en chaque événement.'' 
"Le destin des États dépendait d'un moment." . , . 

When he was tired of reading poetry he would sing with a strong but fak«« voie* 
{Mènerai tome iii. pp. 124-126), 

1 Often enough I took the morning papers to the Emperor, and while he finished 
dressing I read to him the articles he pointed out to me, or those I believed likely 
to attract his attention. They almost always caused him to make some observa- 
tions. His chief physician. Corvisart, or his surgeon- in -ordinary Ivan, sometimea 
were present at his toilet. The Emperor liked challenping Corvisart about medical 
matters, and he always did so by sallies and bitter remarks against doctors. Cor- 
visart, while acknowledging the uncertainty of medicine, defended its utility with 
arguments strong enough to often stop the sarcasms of his antagonist on hia very 
lips {Meneval^ tome i. pp. 143, 144). 


reading ; for whenever he heard anything interesting he 
turned quickly round towards me/ 

When Bonaparte had finished his toilet, which he did 
with great attention, for he was scrupulously neat in his 
person, we went down to his cabinet. There he signed 
the orders on important petitions which had been analysed 
by me on the preceding evening. On reception and pa- 
rade days he was particularly exact in signing these orders, 
because I used to remind him that he would be likely to 
see most of the petitioners, and that they would ask him 
for answers. To spare him this annoyance I used often 
to acquaint them beforehand of what had been granted or 
refused, and what had been the decision of the First Con- 
sul. He next perused the letters which I had opened and 
laid on his table, ranging them according to their impor- 
tance. He directed me to answer them in his name ; he 
occasionally wrote the answers himself, but not often. 

At ten o'clock the maître d'hotel entered, and announced 
breakfast, saying, '•' The General is served." ^ We went 
to breakfast, and the repast was exceedingly simple. He 
ate almost every morning some chicken, dressed with oil 
and onions. This dish was then, I believe, called poulet à 
la Provençale ; but our restaurateurs have since conferred 
upon it the more ambitious name of poulet à la Alarengo^ 

> It was ConBtant'fl task to sb&ve Bonaparte, and he thus speaks of the difflculties 
he experienced in the discharge of this duty : 

" While I waH shaving him he would often converse, read the journals, move 
rentlcHsly in his chair, or tun. round Huddenly, ko that I was obliged to observe the 
utmoKt caution in order to avoid cutting him. Luckily that misfortune never 
oocurrcîd to me. When by chance ho was not engaged in conversation or reading, 
he would sit as motionless as a statuci, and I could not got him to raise, lower, or 
incline his head to facilitate my operaticm. H(î had a singular whim of having only 
one side of his face soaped and shaved at once; and he would not allow mo to pro- 
ceed to the other side until the llrht was llniKhed" {Aft moires de Constant). 

ConsUmt adds that IJoniipiirte c(mld not shave himself until ho instnuUed him in 
the mode of hol.ling and applying the razor; but that, owing to his natural impa- 
tience and hastiness of maimer, ho never atteuipted the operation without severely 
cutting himself. 

' This, of course, roferi to the time when xve were at the Luxembourg.— fiaw»* 

' Napoloun was irregular In his meals, and ate fust and 111 ; but there ngalii was 


Bonaparte drank little wine, always either claret or 
Burgundy, and the latter by j^reference. After breakfast, 
as well as after dinner, he took a cup of strong coffee. ' I 
never saw him take any between his meals, and I cannot 
imagine what could have given rise to the assertion of his 
being particularly fond of coffee. When he worked late 
at night he never ordered coffee, but chocolate, of which 
he made me take a cup with him. But this only hap- 
pened when our business was prolonged till two or three 
in the morning.^ 

to be traced that absolute will which he carried into everything which he did. The 
moment appetite was felt it was necessary that it should be satisfied, and his estab- 
lishment was so arranged that in all places, and at all hours, chicken, cutlets, and 
coffee might be forthcoming at a word {Brillât Savarin, tome i. p. 252). 

The habit of eating fast and carelessly is supposed to have paralysed Napoleon on 
two of the most critical occasions of his life — the battles of Borodino and Leipzig. 
On each of these occasions he is known to have been suffering from indigestion. 
On the third day of Dresden, too (as the German novelist Hoffman, who was in the 
town, asserts), the Emperor's energies were impaired by the effects of a shoulder of 
mutton stuffed with onions. There can be no doubt that Napoleon's irregularity as 
to meals injured his health and shortened his life. 

The general order to his household to have cutlets and roast chicken ready at all 
hours, night and day, was observed to the letter by his maître d'hôtel, Dunand, 
who had been a celebrated cook. In his more dignified capacity he contrived to 
fall in with the humours of his Imperial master, and by so doing to be of essential 
use at critical emergencies when an hour of prolonged flurry or irritation might 
have cost a province or a throne. On one occasion, when matters had gone wrong 
in some quarter, Napoleon returned from the Conseil d'État in one of his worst 
tempers and most discontented moods. A dejeuner à la fourchette comprising his 
favourite dishes was served up, and Napoleon, who had fasted since daybreak, took 
his seat. But he had hardly swallowed a mouthful when apparently some inoppor- 
tune thought or recollection stung his brain to madness; receding from the table 
without rising from his chair he uplifted his foot and crasli went the dejeuner to the 
ground, while the Emperor, springing up, paced the room with rapid and perturbed 
strides, indicative of frenzied rage. Dunand looked on without moving a muscle, 
and quietly gave the fitting orders to his staff. Quick as thought tho wreck was 
cleared away, an exact duplicate of the déjeuner appeared as if by magic, and its 
presence was quietly announced by the customary " Sa Majesté est servie.'*'' Napo- 
leon felt the delicacy and aripreciated the tact of this mode of service. " Merci bien, 
mon cher Dunand.''''' and one of his inimitable smiles, showed that the hurricane 
had blown over (Hayward's Art of Dining, p. ^2). 

' M. Brillât de Savarin, whose memory is dear to all gourmands, had established, 
as a gastronomic principle, that " he who does not take coffee after each meal is 
assuredly not a man of taste." — Bourrienve. 

2 Meneval says of the night work of the Emperor: "I would find him in his 
white dressing-gown, with a Madras handkerchief on his head, walking up and 
down his cabinot. with his hands crossed behind his back, or else dipping in hia 
iuiiil-boX, lesa from liking than from preoccupation, for he «oly smelt the anufl. 


All that has been said about Bonaparte's immoderate 
use of snuflf has no more foundation in truth than his pre- 
tended partiality for coffee. It is true that at an early 
period of his life he began to take snuff, but it was very 
sparingly, and always out of a box ; and if he bore any re- 
semblance to Frederick the Great, it was not by filling 
his waistcoat-pockets with snuff, for I must again observe 
he carried his notions of personal neatness to a fastidious 

Bonaparte had two ruling passions, glory and war. He 
was never more gay than in the camp, and never more 
morose than in the inactivity of peace. Plans for the 
construction of public monuments also pleased his imag- 
ination, and filled up the void caused by the want of active 
occupation. He was aware that monuments form part 
of the history of nations, of whose civilisation they bear 
evidence for ages after those ^Yho created them have dis- 

and his handkerchief r of white cambric were not soiled by it. His ideas developed 
under his dictation with an abundance and a clearness that showed his attention was 
much drawn to the object of his work. They leapt from his head as Minerva, all 
armed, from the head of Jupiter. When the work was ended, and sometimes in 
the middle of it, he had ices or sherbet brought. He asked me which I preferred, 
and hi^ care went so far as to advise me which he thought l)est for my health. 
After this he returned to bed, if it were only for an hour, and fell asleep again as If 
he had not been mterrupted. . . . When the Emperor rose in the night without 
any object except to occupy his sleepless hours, he forbad my being awakened 
before seven o'clock in the morning. Then I found my desk covered with reports 
and paix>r8 anuot.ite<l by him" {Meneval, tomo i. pp. i;il-135). 

> It has been alleged that his Majesty took an inordinate deal of annflF, and that 
In order to take it with the preaUn- facility he carrie<i it in his waistooat-iwckets, 
which for that purpose were lined with leather. This is altogether untrue. The 
fact is, the Fliuperor never took snuff except from a finufT-l>ox, and though he use<l a 
great deal, ho actually took but very little. He would fro(iuently hold the snuff-box 
to his nose inen-ly to smell the snuff ; ut other times h«! would take ii pinch, and 
after Hmclling it for a moment, he would throw it away. Thus it fn'(iucntly hui>- 
pened that the «|)ot whore he was silting or sUinding was strewed with snuff; bn» 
his handkerchief»», which were of the Hiiest cambric, were scarcely ever soiled. 
Napoleon h ul a great collection of snuff boxes ; but those which he i)referred were 
of dark torUiiwishell, lined with gold, and ornamented with cameos or antique 
medaU in gold or silver. Their form was n narrow oval, with iiinged lids. Ho 
did not liko round boxes, beciiiiHt! it was nrcts-'ary to employ both huiuls to oiK>n 
them, and in this ojxjratlon he not unrrc(iuenlly let the box or the 11.1 full. His 
■ouff waM gf-nerully very coarse mppf^e . but he Hotm^tiuies liked to have Hcverai 
kinds of snuff mixed together {Mémoires Ue Coimtunt). 


ajDpeared from the earth, and that they likewise often 
bear false \Yitness to remote posteiity of the realit}- oi 
merely fabulous conquests. Bonaparte was, however, 
mistaken as to the mode of accomplishing the object he 
had in view. His ciphers, his trophies, and subsequently 
his eagles, splendiclly adorned the monuments of his reign. 
But why did he wish to stamp false initials on things with 
which neither he nor his reign had any connection ; as, 
for example the old Louvre ? Did he imagine that the 
letter " N," which everywhere obtruded itself on the eye, 
had in it a charm to controvert the records of history, or 
alter the course of time ? * 

Be this as it may, Bonaparte well knew that the fine 
arts entail lasting glory on great actions, and consecrate 
the memory of princes who jDrotect and encourage them. 
He oftener than once said to me, "A great reputation 
is a great noise ; the more there is made, the farther off it 
is heard. Laws, institutions, monuments, nations, all fall ; 
but the noise continues and resounds in after ages." 
This was one of his favourite ideas. "My power," he 
would say at other times, " depends on my glory, and my 

1 When Louis XVIII. returned to the Tuileries in 1814 he found that Bonaparte 
had been an excellent tenant, and that he had left ever5'thinK in very good condi- 
tion. Some one having called his attention to the jirolusion of N"s which were 
conspicQous in every part of the palace, the monarch appropriately quoted the 
following lines of La Fontaine : — 

*' II anra volontiers écrit Bur son chapean, 
C'est moi qui suis Guillot, berger do ce troupeau." — Bourrienne. 

The Bourbons might have been more grateful for the improvements in the 
Tuileries made by Napoleon. When the Comte d'Artois entered Paris in 1814 " he 
was struck when he saw how much had been made of the Tuileries, the beauty of 
the Place du Carrousel and of the garden. ' Can you imagine that I have heard a 
^mndred times people saying at Versailles that there was nothing to bo made of the 
ruilerics, and that it was made up of a lot of garrets? And here are convenient 
and magnificent apartments ! What ! it was an otilcer of Bonaparte's Court that 
occupied the rooms where we now are? It is incredible!"" {Beugnot, tome ii. p. 
122). Indeed Louis himself seems, later, to have acknowletlged this, as on Metter- 
nich remarking that he had passed many hours with Napoleon in the same room in 
which in 1814 he found the King, " It must bo allowed," answered the King, " that 
NajKileon was a very good tenant. He made everything most comfortable. He 
kas arranged everything excellently for mo ! " (Afettcrnich, tome i. p. 243). 


glory on my victories. My power would fall were I not to 
support it by new glory and new victories. Conquest 
has made me what I am, and conquest alone can main- 
tain me." This was then, and probably always continued 
to be, his predominant idea, and that which prompted 
him continually to scatter the seeds of war through Eu- 
rope. He thought that if he remained stationary he 
would fall, and he was tormented with the desire of con- 
tinually advancing. Not to do something great and de- 
cided was, in his opinion, to do nothing. '* A newly-born 
Government," said he to me, " must dazzle and astonish. 
When it ceases to do that it falls." It was vain to look 
for rest from a man who was restlessness itself. 

His sentiments towards France dow differed widely from 
what I had known them to be in his youth. He long in- 
dignantly cherished the recollection of the conquest of 
Corsica, which he was once content to regard as his coun- 
try. But that recollection was effaced, and it might be 
said that he now ardently loved France. His imagination 
was fired by the very thought of seeing her great, happy, 
and powerful, and, as the first nation in the world, dictat- 
ing laws to the rest. He fancied his name inseparably 
connected with France, and resounding in the ears of pos- 
terity. In all his actions he lost sight of the present mo- 
ment, and thought only of futurity ; so, in all places where 
he led the way to glory, the opinion of France was ever pres- 
ent in his thoughts. As Alexander at Arbela prided him- 
self less in having conquered Darius than in having gained 
the suffrage of the Athenians, so Bonaparte at jMurengo 
was haunted by the idea of wliat would be said in France. 

Before he fought a battle Bonaparte thought little about 
what he should do in case of success, but a great deal 
about wliat he sliould do in case of a reverse of fortune. I 
mention tliis as a fact of which I have often been a witness, 
and I leave to his brothers in arms to decide whether his 
calculations were always cox'rcct. He had it in his power 


to do much, for he risked everything and spared nothing. 
His inordinate ambition goaded him on to the attain- 
ment of power ; and power when possessed served only 
to augment his ambition. Bonaparte was thoroughly con- 
vinced of the truth that trifles often decide the greatest 
events ; therefore he watched rather than provoked op- 
portunity, and when the right moment approached, he sud- 
denly took advantage of it. It is curious that, amidst all 
the anxieties of war and government, the fear of the Bour- 
bons incessantly pursued him, and the Faubourg St. Ger- 
main was to him always a threatening phantom.* 

He did not esteem mankind, whom, indeed, he despised 
more and more in proportion as he became acquainted 
with them. In him this unfavourable opinion of human 
nature w^as justified by many glaring examples of baseness, 
and he used frequently to repeat, "There are two levers 
for moving men, — interest and fear." What respect, in- 
deed, could Bonaparte entertain for the applicants to the 
treasury of the opera? Into this treasury the gaming- 
houses paid a considerable sum, part of which went to 
cover the expenses of that magnificent theatre. The rest 
was distributed in secret gratuities, which were paid on 
orders signed by Duroc. Individuals of very different 
characters were often seen entering the little door in the 
Rue Hameau. The lad}^ who was for a while the favourite 
of the General-in-Chief in Egypt, and whose husband was 
maliciously sent back by the English, was a frequent visi- 
tor to the treasury. On one occasion would be seen 
assembled there a distinguished scholar and an actor, a 
celebrated orator and a musician ; on another, the treas- 
urer would have payments to make to a priest, a courte- 
san, and a cardinal.' 

> I have been informe<î on good nnthority that after I quitted France orders were 
given for intercepting even notes of invitation to dinners, etc. The object of this 
moasuro wan, either to prevent asstmiblies of any kind, or to render them lee» numer- 
OUH, and to ascertain the namoH of the guests. — lioiirrieiint, 

a This, of courbe, refera to Cardinal Fe-sch (sec p. 213). 


One of Bonaparte's greatest misfortunes was, that he 
neither believed in friendship nor felt the necessity of 
loving. How often have I heard him say, *' Friendship is 
but a name ; I love nobody. I do not even love my 
brothers. Perhaps Joseph, a little, from habit and be- 
cause he is my elder ; and Duroc, I love him too. But 
why ? Because his chai-acter pleases me. He is stern 
and resolute ; and I really believe the fellow never shed a 
tear.* For my part, I know very well that I have no true 
friends. As long as I continue what I am, I may have as 
many pretended friends as I please. Leave sensibility to 
women ; it is their business. But men should be firm in 
heart and in purpose, or they should have nothing to do 
with war or government." 

In his social relations Bonaparte's temper was bad ; but 
his fits of ill -humour passed away like a cloud, and spent 
themselves in words. His violent language and bitter im- 
precations were frequently premeditated. When he was 
going to reprimand any one he liked to have a witness 
present. He would then say the harshest things, and level 
blows against which few could bear up. But he never 
gave way to those violent ebullitions of rage until he ac- 
quired undoubted proofs of the misconduct of those 
against whom they were directed. In scenes of this sort 
I have frequently observed that the presence of a third 
person seemed to give him confidence. Consequently, in 
a têtfi-d-tcte interview, any one who knew his character, and 
who could maintain sufficient coolness and firmness, was 
sure to get the better of him. Ho told his friends at St. 
Helena tliat he admitted ;i third person on such occasions 
only that the blow niiglit resound tlie farther. That was 
not his real motive, or the better way would have been to 
perform the scene in public. Ho had other reasons. I 

' Duroc muKt not he judK<'<l of fri>m wimt noniipiirie Hai<l, under thi< Idiu» that ha 
wan cum pi i men ti UK hlrn. Duhki'h tru»nii<rn, it iH tnio, wrrw rcbcrvud uud Mumewhuk 
oold, but tlarc were few butLcr ur kiudci men. — Uourrietiue. 


observed that he did not like a tête-à-tête ; and when he 
expected any one, he would say to me beforehand, 
" Bourrienne, you may remain ; " and when any one was 
announced whom he did not expect, as a minister or a 
general, if I rose to retire he would say in a half- whisper, 
" Stay where you are." Certainly this was not done with 
the design of getting what he said reported abroad ; for it 
belonged neither to my character nor my duty to gossip 
about what I had heard. Besides, it may be presumed, 
that the few who were admitted as witnesses to the con- 
ferences of Napoleon were aware of the consequences at- 
tending indiscreet disclosures under a Government which 
was made acquainted with all that was said and done.' 

Bonaparte entertained a profound dislike of the sanguin- 
ary men of the Revolution, and especially of the regicides. 
He felt, as a painful burden, the obligation of dissembling 
towards them. He spoke to me in terms of horror of 

1 Meneval (the successor of Bourrienue as secretary) says of this (tome iii. p. 3) : 
" When Napoleon was excited by any violent passion his countenance took a severe 
and even terrible expression. His eyes flashed, while a sort of rotatory movement 
took place on his forehead between his eyebrows ; and his nostrils distendetl from 
the passion within. But thes=e transitory emotions, whatever was their cause, never 
disordered his mind. He seemed to govern at will those explosions, which indeed 
became less and less frequent with time. His head remained cold", his blood never 
ran to it, but flowed to his heart. In his ordinary .state his face whs calm and gently 
serious. A most gracious smile illuminated his countenance when he was chirred by 
pood humour, or by the wish to be agreeable. In familiar conversation his laugh 
was sharp and mocking. 

Madame de Rémusat (tome i. p. 119) gives a memorable instance of this rapid as- 
Biamption of anger. Before the celebrated stormy scene with Lord Whitworth NafX)- 
leon had been playing with the young son of his brother Louis, and giving his wife 
and Madame de Romusat advice as to their dress. " Suddenly they came to iriform 
him that the circle was formed. While he rose abrui)tly, and his gaiety disapponred 
from his lips, I was struck with the severe expression which suddenly replaced it. 
His colour seemed to almo^^t blanch nt his will, his features contracted, and all thi* 
in less time than it takes to tell it."' M. Paul de R'niusat himself says that once, 
after a violent scene, the Emperor went up to the Abbo do Pradt, and said to him, 
"You believed I was really an err y ? undeceive yourself. With me anger never 
passes that," and he glanced his hand before his neck, to indicate that the motion of 
bis bile never rearhe<l so far as to trouble his head {Ecmusut, tome i. p. 120). 

Madame de Ilemusat praises his smile (tom(î i. p. 101\ and Mole said " qu'il n'a 
jamais vu de sourire plus aimable, ou du moins plus distingué, phis fin, (juo celui de 
Napoléon et celui de Chateaubriand. Mais ni l'un ni l'autre ne souriaient tous les 
iours" {^Sainte-Beuve, Chatcaubriarul, tome i. p. 157). 


those whom he called the assassins of Louis XVI. , and he 
was annoyed at the necessity of employing them and 
treating them -with apparent respect. How many times 
has he not said to Cambacérès, pinching him by the ear, 
to soften, by that habitual familiarity, the bitterness of 
the remark, " My dear fellow, your case is clear ; if ever 
the Bourbons come back you will be hanged." A forced 
smile would then relax the livid countenance of Cam- 
bacérès, and was usually the only reply of the Second 
Consul, who, however, on one occasion said in my hear- 
ing, *' Come, come, have done with this joking." * 

One thing which gave Bonaparte great pleasure when in 
the country was to see a tall, slender woman, dressed in 
white, walking beneath an alley of shaded trees. He de- 
tested coloured dresses, and especially dark ones. To fat 
women he had an invincible antipathy, and he could not 
endure the sight of a pregnant woman ; it therefore rarely 
haj^pened that a female in that situation was invited to his 
parties. He possessed every requisite for being what is 
called in society an agreeable man, except the will to be 
so. His manner was imposing rather than pleasiug, and 
those who did not know him well experienced in his pres- 
ence an involuntary feeling of awe. In th« drawing-room, 
where Josephine did the honours with so much grace and 
affability, all was gaiety and ease, and no one felt the pres- 
ence of a su2:)erior ; but on Bonaparte's entrance all was 
changed, and every eye was directed towards him, to read 
his humour in his countenance, whether ho intended to 
be silent or talkative, dull or cheerful. 

He often talked a great deal, and sometimes a little too 
much ; but no one could tell a story in a more agreeable 
and interesting way. His conversation rarely turned on 

' Napoleon 8 opinlonn wore ulwnyH BtronR on the rejfidchw. " I>t Bnllrrcttl know," 
■aid he to M.itliii'ii Diiniiirt in 1S()S, " thixt I «ui not iKjwcrfiil enough to dofmid ths 
wretchoH who voted for Uio dooth of LouIh XVI. from public; oontcinpt nnd Indlcnii- 
tt>n '' (Dnmun. Vnnv ill. p. SKi). Ho*; i\1ho hln oxpri^xHion of diHtruxt lu K(is<lcror bo 
he bolkvcd him gulity of treachery to Louis XVl. (it lot, tome I. p. 174). 


gay or humorous subjects, and never on trivial matters. 
He was so fond of argument that in the warmth of discus- 
sion it was easy to draw from him secrets which he was 
most anxious to conceal. Sometimes, in a small circle, he 
would amuse himself by relating stories of presentiments 
and apparitions. For this he always chose the twilight 
of evening, and he would prepare his hearers for what was 
coming by some solemn remark. On one occasion of this 
kind he said, in a very grave tone of voice, " "When death 
strikes a person whom we love, and who is distant from 
us, a foreboding almost always denotes the event, and the 
dying person appears to us at the moment of his dissolu- 
tion." He then immediately related the following anec- 
dote : "A gentleman of the Court of Louis XIV. was in 
the gallery of Versailles at the time that the King was 
reading to his courtiers the bulletin of the battle of Fried* 
lingen gained by Yillars. Suddenly the gentleman saw, 
at the farther end of the gallery, the ghost of his son, who 
served under Villars. He exclaimed, 'My son is no more !* 
and next moment the King named him among the dead." 

When travelling Bonaparte was particularly talkative. 
In the warmth of his conversation, which was always char- 
acterised by original and interesting ideas, he sometimes 
dropped hints of his future views, or, at least, he said 
things which were calculated to disclose what he wished 
to conceal. I took the liberty of mentioning to him this 
indiscretion, and far from being offended, he acknowl- 
edged his mistake, adding that he was not aware he had 
gone so far. He frankly avowed this want of caution 
when at St. Helena, 

When in good humour his usual tokens of kindness 
consisted in a little rap on the head or a slight pinch of the 
ear. In his most friendly conversations with those whom 
he admitted into his intimacy he would say, "You are a 
fool" — "a simpleton" — "a ninny" — "a blockhead." 
These, and a few other words of like import, enabled him 


to vary bis catalogue of compliments ; but be never em- 
ployed tbem angrily, and tbe tone in wbicb tbey were 
uttered sufficiently indicated tbat tbey were meant in 

Bonaparte bad many singular babits and tastes. Wben- 
ever be experienced any vexation, or wben any unpleasant 
tbougbt occupied bis mind, be would bum sometbing 
wbicb was far from resembling a tune, for bis voice was 
very unmusical.* He would, at tbe same time, seat bim- 
self before tbe writing-table, and swing back in bis cbair 
so far tbat I bave often been fearful of bis falling. 

He would tben vent bis ill-bumour on tbe rigbt arm of 
bis cbair, mutilating it witb bis penknife, wbicb be seemed 
to keep for no otber purpose. I always took care to keep 
good pens ready for bim ; for, as it was my business to 
decipber bis writing, I bad a strong interest in doing 
wbat I could to make it legible. 

The sound of bells always produced in Bonaparte pleas- 
urable sensations, wbicb I could never account for. Wben 
we were at Malmaison, and walking in tbe alley leading 
to tbe plain of Ruel, bow many times bas tbe bell of tbe 
village cburcb interrupted our most serious conversations ! 
He would stoj), lest tbe noise of our footsteps sbould 
drown any portion of tbe deligbtful sound. He was al- 
most angry witb me because I did not experience tbe im- 
pressions be did. So powerful was tbe effect produced 
upon bim by tbe sound of tbese bells tbat bis voice would 
falter as be said, " Ab ! tbat reminds me of tbe first years 
I sj^ent at Brienne ! I was tben bappy ! " When tbe bells 

• BotiapnrU! conld not m\\\x, bccaiiKo nature had Rivcii him the most imtvinablo 
voice imaKinablo. He waH, however, very fond of humming any airs or fraffmcnta 
of muHical componitionR which pleaHcd him, and which he happened to rccolloot. 
The^w! little remlnlHrences umially came acroKH his mind in the morniuK while I wan 
drfHHiiiK him. Th<; air which lie most frcHpu'ntly humme<l, thouph in a very imper- 
fect way, w»K the " Marwiillaiw! Hymn." 'J'lie Empimr used uImi to whiKile tuncH 
occaHionally ; and whenever he whistled the air of " Marlbr(K)k," I knew it to be n 
nnro pro(fnf)Htic f)f his approacliiiiK departure for the army. I re<"iilltH't that he never 
whlstli-d HO much nor ajiiwarcd ho ctH-erful, aH whou OU Lho ovo of depurtiug for tho 
JlUHsian campKl({n '' ( Mémoires do CouhIuiU), 

Vol. I.— 21 


ceased he would resume tlie course of his speculations, 
carry himself into futurity, place a crown on his head, 
and dethrone kings. 

Nowhere, except on the field of battle, did I ever see 
Bonaparte more happy than in the gardens of Malmaison.' 
At the commencement of the Consulate we used to go 
there every Saturday evening, and stay the whole of Sun- 
day, and sometimes Monday. Bonaparte used to spend 
a considerable part of his time in walking and superin- 
tending the improvements which he had ordered. At 
first he used to make excursions about the neighbour- 
hood, but the reports of the police disturbed his natural 
confidence, and gave him reason to fear the attempts of 
concealed royalist partisans. 

During the first four or five days that Bonaparte spent 
at Malmaison he amused himself after breakfast with cal- 
culating the revenue of that domain. According to his 
estimates it amounted to 8000 francs. " That is not 
bad ! " said he ; *' but to live here would require an in- 
come of 30,000 livres." I could not help smiling to see 
him seriously engaged in such a calculation. 

Bonaparte had no faith in medicine. He spoke of it as 
an art entirely conjectural, and his oj^inion on this sub- 
ject was fixed and incontrovertible.^ His vigorous mind 
rejected all but demonstrative proofs. 

• As Bonaparte was oqc day walking in these gardens with Madame de Clermont- 
Tonnerre, now Madame de Talaru, in whose agrreeable conversation he took much 
delight, he suddenly addressed her thus : " Madame de Clermont-Tonnerre, what do 
you think of mc ? "' This abrupt and unexi)ected question rt-ndered the answer deli- 
cate and dlfflcult. " Way, General," said the lady, after a moment's hesitation, " I 
think you are like a skilful architect who never allows his structure to be seen until 
It is quite finished. You are building behind a scaffolding which you will throw 
down when your work is completed." — "Just so, madame, you are right, quite 
right," said Bonaparte hastily. " I never look forward loss than two years." — Bour- 

2 Had a long conversation with the Emperor on medical subjects. He appeared 
to entertam an idea that in cases purely the province of the physician the patient 
has an cijual chance of Dcing despatched to the other world either by the doctor 
mistsiking the complaint, or by the remedies administered operating in a different 
manner from what was expected. He acknowledged the great utility, however, of 
«orgery. I endeavoured to convince him that in some complaints nature was h bad 


He had little memory for proper names, words, or dates, 
but he had a wonderful recollection of facts and places. 
I recollect that, on going from Paris to Toulon, he pointed 
out to me ten places calculated for great battles, and he 
never forgot them. They were memoranda of his first 
youthful journeys. 

Bonaparte was insensible to the charms of poetic har- 
mony. He had not even sufficient ear to feel the rhythm 
of poetry, and he never could recite a verse without 
violating the metre ; yet the grand ideas of poetry charmed 
him. He absolutely worshipped Corneille ; and, one day, 
after having witnessed a performance of Cinna, he said to 
me, "If a man like Corneille were living in my time I 
would make him my Prime Minister. It is not his poetry 
that I most admire ; it is his powerful understanding, his 
vast knowledge of the human heart, and his profound 
policy ! " At St. Helena he said that he would have made 
Corneille a prince ; but at the time he spoke to me of 
Corneille he had no thought of making either princes or 

physician, and mentioned in proof of my argument the examples that had taken 
place under his own eyes in the Ciiscs of Countess Montholon, General Gourgaud, and 
others, who if they had been left to nature would have gone to the other world. 
Napoleon, however, was sceptical, and inclined to think that if they had taken no 
medicine, and abstained from everything except plenty of diluents, they would have 
done e<jually well. ... I insbxnced a case of inflammation of the lungs. Ha 
api)eared a little sUiggorcd at this at first, but after asking nie what were the reme- 
dies, to which I replied that venesection was the sheet anchor, he said, "That com- 
plaint appertains, then, to the surgeon because ho cures it with the lancet. !ind not 
to the physician. . . . Suppose now," ho continued, "that the best informed 
physician visits forty pntienw eacfi driy, among tliem he will kill wiy one or two a 
month by mistaking the di8.«as«', and in the country towns the charlatans will kill 
about half of those who die under their hands" (O'Meara'a Napoleon in Exile, vol. 
ii. p. 3). 

HnîakfasU'd with Napoleon in the garden. Had a long modiail argument with 
him, in which he maintained that A/jr practice in case of malady— viz. to cat noth- 
lii).', drink plenty of barley water, and no wine, and ri<le for seven or right leagues to 
promote perHi)lr;itinn— was much better than wine" {[bid., vol. i. p. 60). 

• Sainte Beuve says. "The; pi;rsotis wlio best knew Nup<)lo<m have remarked that 
in the rapid literary education Ik^ had to improvi-ie for himself when he had obUiinM 
powiOHMion of i>ow<-r. hv began by much i)r('ferring Oorni-llle ; it was only IhUt (hat 
he got so far as to enjoy Ilacini;, but he did n-ach that point. He began as ovpryono 
begin»; he ended as cultivaLed and well-informea lutcUoctn like to cud (C'a u«er<««, 


Gallantry to women was by no means a trait in Bona- 
parte's character. He seldom said anything agreeable to 
females, and he frequently addressed to them the rudest 
and most extraordinary remarks. To one he would say, 
*' Heavens, how red your elbows are!" To another, 
" What an ugly headdress j^ou have got ! " At another 
time he would say, ''Your dress is none of the cleanest. 
. . . Do you ever change yowv gown? I have seen 
you in that twenty times ! " ^ He showed no mercy to any 
who displeased him on these points. He often gave 
Josephine directions about her toilet, and the exquisite 
taste for which she was distinguished might have lielped 
to make him fastidious about the costume of other ladies. 
At first he looked to elegance above all things : at a later 
period he admired luxury and splendour, but he always 
required modesty. He frequently expressed his disap- 
proval of the low-necked dresses which were so much in 
fashion at the beginning of the Consulate. 

Bonaparte did not love cards, and this was very fortunate 
for those who were invited to his parties ; for when he was 
seated at a card-table, as he sometimes thought himself 
obliged to be, nothing could exceed the dulness of the 
drawing-room either at the Luxembourg or the Tuileries. 
When, on the contrary, he walked about among the com- 
pany, all were pleased, for he usually spoke to everybody, 
though he preferred the conversation of men of science, 
especially those who had been with him in Egypt ; as, for 

tome i. p. 287). In another place Sainte-Beuve wiys. " Napoleon wrote to his brother 
Joseph, then Kinp of Nat)les, who wjis fond of literary men, ' Yon live too much 
with literary and with Rcientific men. They are like coquettes, with whom one 
should maintain an intcrcourKC of gallantry, but of whom one should never make n 
wife or a minister.' This," says Sainte-Beuve, "is true of many literarj' men, and 
even of some of them who in our time we have seen as ministers, but it is not true of 
M. Guizot, nor of M. Thiers {Causeries, tome i. p. 313). 

> Bonaparte, after he became Emperor, said one d;iy to the "Deautiful Duchesse de 
Chevreuse, in the prestMice of all the circle at the Tuileries: "Ah 1 that's droll 
enough; your hair is red ? " — " Perpaps it is, Sire," replied the lady; " but this ia 
the first time a man ever told me so," Madame de Chevreuse, whose hair was, on 
the contrary, a beautiful blonde, was shortly aftxjr exiled to Tours for having d»» 
cliûed the ollicc of maid of buuor to the (juceu of iapaiiu—Uourrienne. 


example, Monge and Bertliollet. He also liked to talk 
with Chaptal and Lacépède, and with Lemercier, the 
author of Agamemnon. 

Bonaparte was seen to less advantage in a drawing-room 
than at the head of his troops. His military uniform 
became him much better than the handsomest dress of any 
other kind. His first trials of di-ess-coats were unfortunate. 
I have been informed that the first time he wore one he 
kept on his black cravat. This inconginiity was remarked 
to him, and he replied, " So much the better ; it leaves 
me something of a military air, and there is no harm in 
that." For my own part, I neither saw the black cravat 
nor heard this reply. ' 

The First Consul paid his own private bills very punc- 
tually ; but he was always tardy in settling the accounts of 
the contractors who bargained with Ministers for supplies 
for the public service. He put off these payments by all 
sorts of excuses and shufïlings. Hence arose immense 
arrears in the expenditure, and the necessity of appointing 
a committee of liquidation. In his opinion the terms con- 
tractor and rogue were synonymous.^ All that he avoided 

* On the Bubject of Bonaparte's dress Constant gives the following details : — 
"His Majesty's waibtcoats and Bmall-clothos were always of white caspimir. Ho 
changed them every morning, and never wore them after they had been washed 
throe or four times. The Emi)oror never wore any but white silk stockings. His 
Rhoes, which were very light and lined with silk, were ornamented with gold bucklea 
of an oval fonn, either plain or wrought. He also occasionally wore gold knee- 
buckles. During the Empire I never saw him wear pantaloons. The Emperor 
never wore jewels. In his pockets he carried neither purse nor money, but merely 
his handkerchief, snuff box, and boiibonnière (or sweetmeat-box). He usually wor« 
only two dwx)rationH, viz., the cross of the Legion of Honour, and that of the Iron 
('rown. AcroHH his waisUioat, and under his unifurin coat, he wore a cordon rouge, 
the two ends of which were scarcely perceptible. When he received company at the 
Tuileries, or aft<'nded a review, he wore the grand cordon on the outside of his coat. 
His hat, which it is almost superfluous to destTibu, as lung as portraits of hln 
Majesty arc extant, was of uu extremely ttne and light kind of beaver. The insido 
was wadded and lined with silk. It was unadorned with either cord, tassel, or 
feather, Its only orTiameiit bcln^ a nilk loop, fiisUiiiug a small tri-coU>ured co«^"kade." 
' For a remurkalil(! liiMtancc of tin- strong frcliiig uf Nnpoii-DU against [H'culation 
gee Menevnl, tome iii. ji. 22.'). When Emprrur, he one day rntered his cubinct full of 
joy at havinpj <;aught " a man who hud roblv'd the army of Italy dis^;raecfully. 
Under th« JJiroctory ho fouad protcutora wU» absurod Uim of impunity. Thank 


paying them he regarded as a just restitution to himself ; 
and all the sums which were struck off from their ac- 
counts he regarded as so much deducted from a theft. 
The less a Minister paid out of his budget the more Bona- 
parte was pleased with him ; and this ruinous system of 
economy can alone explain the credit which Decrès so 
long enjoyed at the expense of the French nav}\ 

God, I have found him, and I shall make him a severe example." Again, a few 
years later, in a letter to his brother he saj's, " I send you a copy of the decree re- 
quiring the sums of which the Treasury has been robbed to be repaid. Alasséna 

and s ' have stolen 6,400,000 francs. They shall repay to the last farthing ! 

. . . Let Masséna be advised to return the 6,000,000. To do so quickly is his only 
salvation ! If he does not I shall send a military commission of inquiry to Padua, 
for such robbery is intolerable. To suffer soldiers to starve and be unpaid, and to 
pretend that the sums destined for their use were a jircsent to himself from the pro- 
vince, is too impudent ! Such conduct would make it impossible to carry on a war. 

Let s be watched. The details of their plunderings are incredible. I learnt 

them from the Austrian» who themselves are ashamed of them. They allowed corn 
to go to Vtnice. The evil is intolerable. I will soon find a remedy. I order Ardent 
to be arrested. lie is an agent of S . If he should be at Naples have him ar- 
rested and sent under a good escort to Paris. You have seen that Flachat has been 
condemned to a year's imprisonment in irons, and that his transactions have been 
declared void?" {Napoleon to Joseph, Slarch 12, 1806. — Du Casse, tome ii. p. 

The evil handed down from the Revolutionary times was too widespread to be 
stopped by all the efforts of Napoleon, directed though they were against the highest 
as well as the lowest officials. When Davoust took the command at Hamburg he re- 
ported to the Emperor that a large part of the contributions raised in the times of 
his predecessor had not reached the public excho<iuer, and Mtneval (tome iii. p. 
265) attributes much of the discontent felt towards the Emperor in the last years of 
his reign to the energy with which he pressed the pursuit of these and similar mis- 
deeds. Bourrienne himself was believed to have received large sums from Hamburg 
(see Meneval in the pas.sage just referred to, and Puymaigre, p. 135), as well aa 

Darn told Meneval that a marshal had appropriated 200,000 out of 300,000 francs 
raised from Erfurth, letting his ordonnateur take the rest. The unfortunate ordoii- 
nateur had to pay up the whole sum, as nothing was recovered from the marshal. 
Bemadotte appears to have been the culprit ("The marshal . . . since rai.sed to a rank 
placing him above all jnrisdictiou"). One of the worst instances in Spain was that 

of Marshal L , concerning which ref<^renco may be made to the Memoirs oj 

Madame d'Ahrantî^s, English edition of 1882, vol. iii. p. 214. 

To quote again from the Emperor's letters to his brother : "I am well pleased 
with my affairs here ; it gave me great trouble to bring them into order, and to force 
a dozen rogues, at whose head is Ouvrard, to refund. Barbc'-Marbois has been duped 
yUst as the Cardinal de Rohan was duped in the affair of the necklace, with the dif- 
ference that in this case more than 1)0,000,000 were in question. I had made up my 
mOid to have them shot without trial ! Thank God, I have been repaid I This haa 

Ï The S was probably Salicctti. 


On the subject of religion Bonaparte's ideas were very 
vague. "My reason," said he, "makes me incredulous 
respecting many things ; but the impressions of my child- 
hood and early youth throw me into uncertainty." He 
was very fond of talking of religion. In Italy, in Egypt, and 
on board the Orient and the Muiron, I have known him to 
take part in very animated conversations on this subject. 
He readily yielded up all that was proved against reHgion 
as the work of men and time : but he would not hear of 
materialism. I recollect that one fine night, when he was 
on deck with some persons who were arguing in favour of 
materialism, Bonaparte raised his hand to heaven and, 
pointing to the stars, said, *' You may talk as long as you 
please, gentlemen, but who made all that ?" The per- 
petuity of a name in the memory of man was to him 
the immortality of the soul. He was perfectly tolerant 
towards every variety of religious faith. ' 

Among Bonaparte's singular habits was that of seating 
himself on any table which happened to be of a suitable 
height for him. He would often sit on mine, resting his 
left arm on my right shoulder, and swinging his left leg, 
which did not reach the ground ; and while he dictated 
to me he would jolt the table so that I could scarcely write. 

put me Bomewhat out of humour, and I tell you about it that you may see how dis- 
honest men arc. You are now at the head of a ^reat army, and will soon be at that 
of a great administration, and ought to be aware of this. Roguery has been the 
catiRe of all the misfortunes of France " {Napoleon to Josepfi, February 7, 180G. — 
Du CasHB, tome ii. p. 65). 

Nothing (;ould exceed the Revcrity with which Napoleon pursued such acts when 
known to him. He made it almost a personal ufTtiir, as will bo seen from the fore- 
going instanw-'s. and the difllculty with which Bourricnne i)ersuiidcd him not to try, 
years after the act, a man who had committed peculatinn in Italy. 

While on this topic a i>leasiiig contrast will be found in the instances of Marshal 
Mortli;r, who left Uanover a poorer man than when he entered upon its administra- 
tion, and Marshal Suchet, who received from the Spanish under his rule a public 
recognition of the honesty and justice of hia administration lu Valencia and 

' I'ollcy Imluctid Bonaparte to re-establish religious worship in France, whleii he 
thought would Im' a powerful aid to the consolidation of his |M)wor ; but he woulj 
never consent to the iM-rsccutioii of <ith<;r n'liK'lons. He wished to Influence man- 
ICind in t«tnporal things, but not iu points of biihet.—JJouirienne, 


Bonaparte had a great dislike to reconsider any de- 
cision, even when it was acknowledged to be unjust. In 
little as well as in great things he evinced his repugnance 
to retrograde. An instance of this occuiTed in the affair 
of General Latour-Foissac. The First Consul felt how 
much he had wronged that general ; but he wished some 
time to elapse before he repaired his error. His heart 
and his conduct were at variance ; but his feelings were 
overcome by what he conceived to be political necessity. 
Bonaparte was never known to say, *'I have done wrong : '* 
his usual observation was, ''I begin to think there is some- 
thing wrong." 

In spite of this sort of feeling, which was more worthy 
of an ill-humoured philosopher than the head of a govern- 
ment, Bonaparte was neither malignant nor vindictive. I 
cannot certainly defend him against all the reproaches 
which he incurred through the imperious law of war and 
cruel necessity ; but I may say that he has often been un- 
justly accused. None but those who are blinded by fury 
will call him a Nero or a Caligula. I think I have avowed 
his faults with sufficient candour to entitle me to credit 
when I speak in his commendation ; and I declare that, out 
of the field of battle, Bonaparte had a kind and feeling 
heart. He was very fond of children, a trait which seldom 
distinguishes a bad man. In the relations of private life 
to call him amiable would not be using too strong a word, 
and he was very indulgent to the weakness of human nature. 
The contrary opinion is too firmly fixed in some minds for 
me to hope to root it out. I shall, I fear, have contra- 
dictors, but I address myself to those who look for truth. 
To judge impartially we must take into account the in- 
fluence which time and circumstances exercise on men ; 
and distinguish between the different characters of the 
Collegian, the General, the Consul, and the Emperor. 

1800. 32» 



Bonaparte's laws — Suppression of the festival of the 21st of January- 
Official visits— The Temple— Louis XVI. and Sir Sidney Smith- 
Peculation during the Directory — Loan raised — Modest budget — The 
Consul and the Member of the Institute — The figure of the Republic — 
Duroc's missions — The King of Prussia — The Emperor Alexander — 
General Latour-Foissac— Arbitrary decree — Company of players for 
Egypt — Singular ideas respecting literary property — The preparatory 
Consulate — The journals — Sabres and muskets of honour — The First 
Consul and his Comrade — The bust of Brutus — Statues in the gallery 
of the Tuileries — Sections of the Council of State — Costumes of 
public functionaries — Masquerades — The opera-balls — Recall of the 

It is not my purpose to say much about the laws, de- 
crees, and Sénatus- Consultes, which the First Consul either 
passed, or caused to be passed, after his accession to 
power. What were they all, with the exception of the 
Civil Code ? The legislative reveries of the different men 
who have from time to time ruled France form an im- 
mense labyrinth, in which chicanery bewilders reason and 
common sense ; and they would long since have been buried 
in oblivion had they not occasionally served to authorise 
injustice. I cannot, however, pass over unnoticed the 
happy effect produced in Paris, and throughout the whole 
of France, by some of tl)e first decisions of the Consuls. 
Perliaps none but those who witnessed the state of society 
during the reign of Tcirror can fully appreciate the satis- 
faction which the first stops towards the restoration of 
social order produced in the breasts of all honest men. 
The Directory, more base and not leas perverae than the 


Convention, bad retained the horrible 21st of January 
among the festivals of the Eepublic. One of Bonaparte's 
first ideas on attaining the possession of power was to 
abolish this ; but such was the ascendency of the abettors 
of the fearful event that he could not venture on a straight- 
forward course. He and his two colleagues, who were 
Sieves and Eoger Ducos, signed, on the 5th NivOse, a 
decree, setting forth that in future the only festivals to be 
celebrated by the Eepublic were the 1st Vendémiaire and 
the 14th of July, intending by this means to consecrate 
provisionally the recollection of the foundation of the 
Eepublic and of liberty. 

All was calculation wdth Bonaparte. To produce effect 
■was his highest gratification. Thus he let slip no oppor- 
tunity of saying or doing things which were calculated to 
dazzle the multitude. "While at the Luxembourg, he went 
sometimes accompanied by his aides de camp and some- 
times by a Minister, to pay certain official visits. I did not 
accompany him on these occasions; but almost always 
either on his return, after dinner, or in the evening, he re- 
lated tome what he had done and said. He congratulated 
himself on having paid a visit to Daubenton, at the Jardin 
des Plantes, and talked with great self-complacency of the 
distinguished way in which he had treated the contem- 
porary of Buffon. 

On the 24tli Brumaire he visited the prisons. He liked 
to make these visits unexpectedly, and to take the gover- 
nors of the different public establishments by surprise; so 
that, having no time to make their preparations, he might 
see things as they realty were. I was in his cabinet when 
he returned, for I had a great deal of business to go 
through in his absence. As he entered he exclaimed, 
"What binites these Directors are ! To what a state they 
have brought our public establishments! But, stay a 
little! I will put all in order. The prisons are in a 
shockingly unwholesome state, and the prisoners miser- 


abh' fed. I questioned them, and I questioned the jailers, 
for nothing is to be learned from the superiors. They, 
of course, always speak well of their own work ! When I 
was in the Temple I could not help thinkimg of the un- 
fortunate Louis XVI. Ho was an excellent man, but too 
amiable, too gentle for the times. He knew not how to 
deal with mankind! And Sir Sidney Smith! I made 
them show me his apartment. If the fools had not let 
him escape I should have taken St. Jean d'Acre ! There 
are too many painful recollections connected with that 
prison ! I will certainly have it pulled down some day or 
other! What do you think I did at the Temple? I 
ordered the jailers' books to be brought to me, and finding 
that some hostages were still in confinement I liberated 
them. 'An unjust law,' said I, 'has deprived you of 
liberty; my first duty is to restore it to you.' Was not 
this well done, Bourrienne ?" As I was, no less than Bona- 
parte himself, an enemy to the revolutionary laws, I con- 
gratulated him sincerely ; and he was very sensible to my 
approbation, for I was not accustomed to greet him with 
" Good ; very good," on all occasions. It is true, knowing 
his character as I did, I avoided saying anything that was 
calculated to offend him ; but when I said nothing, he 
knew veiy well how to construe my silence. Had I flat- 
tered him I should have continued longer in favour. 

Bonaparte always spoke angrily of the Directors he had 
turned off. Their incapacity disgusted and astonished 
him. " What simpletons ! what a government ! " he 
would frequentlj' exclaim when he looked into the meas- 
ures of the Directory. "Bourrienne," said he, "can you 
imagine anytliing more pitiable than their system of 
finance ? Can it for a moment bo doubted that the prin- 
cipal agents of authority daily committed the most fraud- 
ulent pe(;ulations? What vcnaHty ! what disorder ! wliat 
wastefulness ! everything put up for sale : places, provis- 
ions, clothiDg, and military, all were disposed of. Have 


they not actually consumed 75,000,000 in advance? And 
then, think of all the scandalous fortunes accumulated, all 
the malversations ! But are there no means of makinsr 
them refund ? We shall see." 

In these first moments of poverty it was found neces- 
sary to raise a loan, for the funds of M. Collot did not 
last long, and 12,000,000 were advanced by the different 
bankers of Paris, who, I believe, were paid by bills of the 
receivers-general, the discount of which then amounted to 
about 33 per cent. The salaries of the first offices were 
not very considerable, and did not amount to anything 
like the exorbitant stipends of the Empire. The follow- 
ing table shows the modest budget of the Consular Gov- 
ernments for the year "Vili. : — 


The Legislative Body 2,400,000 

The Tribunate 1,312,000 

The Archives 75,000 

The three Consuls, including 750,000 francs for 

secret service money. .... 1,800,000 

The Council of State 675,000 

Secretaries to the Councils and to the Councillors 

of State 112,500 

The Six Ministers . . ' . - . ■ 360,000 

The Minister for Foreign Affairs . . . 90,000 

Total . 6,824,500 

Bonaparte S salary was fixed at 500,000 francs. "What 
a contrast to the 300,000,000 in gold which were re- 
ported to have been concealed in 1811 in the cellars of 
the Tuileries ! 

In mentioning Bonaparte's nomination to the Institute, 
and his affectation in putting at the head of his proclama- 
tion his title of member of that learned body before that 
of General-in-Chief, I omitted to state what value he 
really attached to that title. The truth is that, when 
young and anjbitious, he was pleased with the proffered 
title, which he thought would raise him in pubUc estima- 


tion. How often have we laughed together when he 
weighed the value of his scientific titles! Bonaparte, to 
be sure, knew something of mathematics, a good deal of 
history, and, I need not add, possessed extraordinary 
military talent ; but he was nevertheless a useless member 
of the Institute. 

On his return from Egj^pt he began to grow weary of 
a title which gave him so many colleagues. "Do you not 
think," said he one day to me, " that there is something 
mean and humiliating in the words, ' I have the honour to 
be, my dear Colleague ' ? I am tired of it ! " Generally 
speaking, all phrases which indicated equality displeased 
him. It will be recollected how gratified he was that I 
did not address him in the second person singular on our 
meeting at Leoben, and also what befell M. de Cominges 
at Bale because he did not observe the same precaution. 

The figure of the Republic seated and holding a spear 
in her hand, which at the commencement of the Consulate 
was stamped on official letters, was speedily abolished. 
Happy would it have been if Liberty herself had not 
sulTered the same treatment as her emblem ! The title of 
First Consul made him despise that of Member of the 
Institute. He no longer entertained the least predilection 
for that learned body, and subsequently he regarded it 
with much suspicion.' It was a bodij, an authorised 
assembly ; these were reasons sufficient for him to take 
umbrage at it, and ho never concealed his dislike of all 
bodies possessing the privilege of meetmg and deliberat- 

While we were at the Luxembourg Bonaparte de- 
Bpatclied Duroc on a special mission to tlio King of Prussia. 
This happened, I tliink, at the very beginning of tlioyear 
1800. He selected Duroc because ho was a man of good 
education and agreeable manners, and ono wlio could ex- 
press liimsclf with olegancîe and reserve, qualities not 

> See, however, fooluotc on p. 126. 


often met with at that period. Duroc had been with us 
in Italy, in Egypt, and on board the Muiron, and the 
Consul easily guessed that the King of Prussia would be 
delighted to hear from an eye-witness the events of Bona- 
parte's campaigns, especially the siege of St. Jean d'Acre, 
and the scenes which took place during the months of 
March and May at Jaffa. Besides, the First Consul con- 
sidered it indisjDensable that such circumstantial details 
should be given in a way to leave no doubt of their correct- 
ness. His intentions were fully realised ; for Duroc told 
me, on his return, that nearly the whole of the conversa- 
tion he had with the King turned upon St. Jean d'Acre 
and Jaffa. He stayed nearly two whole hours with his 
Majesty, who, the day after, gave him an invitation to 
dinner. When this intelligence arrived at the Luxem- 
bourg I could perceive that the Chief of the Republic 
was flattered that one of his aides de camp should have sat 
at table with a King, who some years after was doomed to 
wait for him in his antechamber at Tilsit. 

Duroc never spoke on politics to the King of Prussia, 
which was very fortunate, for, considering his age and the 
exclusively militaiy life he had led, he could scarcely have 
been expected to avoid blunders. Some time later, after 
the death of Paul L, he was sent to congratulate Alexander 
on his accession to the throne. Bonaparte's design in thus 
making choice of Duroc was to introduce to the Courts of 
Europe, by confidential missions, a young man to whom 
he was much attached, and also to bring him forward in 
France. Duroc went on his third mission to Berlin after 
the war broke out with Austria. He often wrote to me, 
aud his letters comdnced me how much he had improved 
himself within a short time. 

Another circumstance which happened at the commence- 
ment of the Consulate affords an example of Bonaparte's 
inflexibility when he had once formed a determination. 
In the spring of 1799, when we were in Egypt, the Direc- 



1800. TBB LOSS OF MANTUA. 335 

tory gave to General Latour-Foissac, a liiglily distinguished 
officer, the command of Mantua, the taking of which had 
so powerfully contributed to the glory of the conqueror 
of Italy. Shortly after Latour's appointment to this im- 
portant post the Austrians besieged Mantua. It was well 
known that the garrison was supplied with provisions and 
ammunition for a long resistance ; yet, in the month of 
July it surrendered to the Austrians. The act of capitula- 
tion contained a curious article, viz. '* General Latour- 
Foissac and his staff shall be conducted as prisoners to 
Austria ; the garrison shall be allowed to return to France." 
This distinction between the general and the troops en- 
trusted to his command, and at the same time the prompt 
surrender of Mantua, were circumstances which, it must 
be confessed, were calculated to excite suspicions of 
Latour-Foissac. The consequence was, when Bernadotte 
was made War Minister he ordered an inquiry into the 
general's conduct by a court-martiaL Latour-Foissac had 
no sooner returned to France than he published a justi- 
ficatory memorial, in which he showed the impossibility of 
his having made a longer defence when he was in want of 
many objects of the first necessity. 

Such was the state of the affair on Bonaparte's elevation 
to the Consular power. The loss of Mantua, the posses- 
sion of which had cost him so many sacrifices, roused his 
indignation to so high a pitch that whenever the subject 
was mentioned he could find no words to express his rage. 
He stopped the investigation of the court-mai'tial, and 
issued a violent decree jigainst Latour-Foissac even before 
his culpability had been proved. This proceeding occa- 
sioned much discussion, and was very dissatisfactory to 
many general officers, who, by this arbitrary decision, 
found themselves in danger of forfeiting the privilege of 
being tried by their natural judges whenever they hap- 
pened to disi)lease the First Consul. For my own part, 
I must say that this decree against Latour-Foissac was 


one wliicli I saw issued with considerable regret, I was 
alarmed for the consequences. After the lapse of a few 
days I ventured to point out to him the undue severity of 
the step he had taken ; I reminded him of all that had 
been said in Latour-Foissac's favour, and tried to convince 
him how much more just it would be to allow the trial to 
come to a conclusion. *'In a country," said I, "like 
France, where the point of honour stands above every- 
thing, it is impossible Foissac can escape condemnation if 
he be culpable." — "Perhaps you are right, Bourrienne," 
rejoined he ; " but the blow is struck ; the decree is 
issued. I have given the same explanation to every one ; 
but I cannot so suddenly retrace my steps. To retro- 
grade is to be lost. I cannot acknowledge myself in the 
wrong. By and by we shall see what can be done. Time 
will bring lenity and j^ardon. At present it would be pre- 
mature." Such, word for word, was Bonaparte's reply. 
If with this be compared what he said on the subject at St. 
Helena it will be found that his ideas continued nearly 
unchanged ; the only difference is that, instead of the 
impetuosity of 1800, he expressed himself with the calm- 
ness which time and adversity naturally produce.' 

Bonaparte, as I have before observed, loved contrasts ; 
and I remember at the very time he was acting so violently 
against Latour-Foissac he condescended to busy himself 
about a company of players which he wished to send to 
Egypt, or rather that he pretended to wish to send there, 
because the announcement of such a project conveyed an 
impression of the prosperous condition of our Oriental 
colony. The Consuls gravely appointed the Minister of 
the Interior to execute this business, and the Minister in 

> " It was," snys the Memorial of St. Tlclena, " an illegal and tyrannical act, bat 
Btill it WRB a necessary evil. It was the fiiult of the law. He was a hundred, nay, 
a thousand fold guilty, and yot it was doubtful wliothcr he would be condemned. 
We therefore assailed him with the shafts of honour and public opinion. Yet I re- 
I)eat it was a tyrannical act, and one of those violent measures which are at times 
neceesaxy in groat nations and iu extraordinary circumstances." 


Lis turn delegated his powers to Florence, the actor. In 
their instructions to the Minister the Consuls observed 
that it would be advisable to include some female dancers 
in the company ; a suggestion which corresponds with 
Bonaparte's note, in which were specified all that he con- 
sidered necessaiy for the Egyptian expedition. 

The First Consul entertained singular notions respect- 
ing literary property. On his hearing that a piece, en- 
titled Misanthropie et Repentir, had been brought out at 
the Odéon, he said to me, "Bourrienne, you have been 
robbed." — " I, General ? how? " — ''You have been robbed, 
I tell you, and they are now acting your piece." I have 
already mentioned that during my stay at AVarsaw I 
amused myself with translating a celebrated play of 
Kotzebue. While we were in Italy I lent Bonaparte my 
translation to read, and he expressed himself much pleased 
with it. He greatly admired the piece, and often went to 
see it acted at the Odéon. On his return he invariably 
gave me fresh reasons for my claiming what he was 
pleased to call my property. I represented to him that 
the translation of a foreign work belonged to any one who 
chose to execute it. Ho would not, however, give up his 
point, and I was obliged to assure him that my occupa- 
tions in his service left me no time to engage in a literaiy 
lawsuit. He then exacted a promise from me to translate 
Goethe's Werther. I told him it was already done, though 
indifferently, and that I could not possibly devote to the 
subject the time it merited. I read over to him one of 
the letters I had translated into French, and which he 
seemed to approve. 

That interval of the Consular Government during which 
Bonaparte remained at the Luxembourg may be called the 
preparatory Consulate. Then were sown the seeds of the 
great events whicli lie meditated, and of those institutions 
witli wliicli he wished to mark his possession of power. 
He was then, if I may use the expression, two individuals 
Vol. 1.-23 


in one : the Republican general, who was obliged to appear 
the advocate of liberty and the principles of the Revolu- 
tion ; and the votary of arabition, secretly plotting the 
downfall of that liberty and those principles. 

I often wondered at the consummate address with 
which he contrived to deceive tliose who were likely to 
see through his designs. This hypocrisy, which some, 
perhaps, may call profound policy, was indispensable to 
the accomplishment of his projects ; and sometimes, as if 
to keep himself in practice, he would do it in matters of 
secondary importance. For example, his opinion of the 
insatiable avarice of Siéyès is well known ; yet when he 
proposed, in his message to the Council of Ancients, to 
give his colleague, under the title of national recompense, 
the price of his obedient secession, it was, in the words of 
the message, a recompense worthily bestowed on his disin- 
terested virtues.^ 

While at the Luxembourg Bonaparte showed, by a 
Consular act, his hatred of the liberty of the press above 
all liberties, for he loved none. On the 27th Nivôse the 
Consuls, or rather the First Consul, published a decree, 
the real object of which was evidently contrary to its im- 
plied object. 

This decree stated that 

The Consuls of the Republic, considering that some of the jour- 
nals printed at Paris are instruments in the luuids of the enemùn of 
the Republic,, over the safety of which tlie Government is specially 
entrusted by the people of France to watch, decree — 

That the Minister of Police shall, during the continuation of the 
■war, allow only the following journals to be printed and published, 
y'xi. — Le Moniteur- Unversel, Le Journal des Débats et Décrets^ Le 
Journal de Paris^ Le Bien-lnfoiiné^ Le Pnbliriste, L'Ami des Lois, 
La Clé des Cabinets, /><? Citoyen François, La Gazette de France, Le 
Journed des Hommes Libres, Ix Journal du Soir by the brothers 
Chaigneau, Le Journal des Défenseurs de la Patrie^ La Décadâ 

' M. de Bourrienne misses the humour of this. 

1800. swonns and muskets of honour. 339 

Philosophique^ and those papers which are exclusively devoted to 
science, art, literature, commerce, and advertisements. 

Surely this decree may well be considered as prepara- 
tory ; and the fragment I have quoted may serve as a 
standard for measuring the greater part of those acts by 
which Bonaparte sought to gain, for the consolidation of 
his power, what he seemed to be seeking solely for the 
interest of the friends of the Eepublic. The limitation to 
the period of the continuance of the w^ar had also a certain 
provisional air which afforded hope for the future. But 
everything provisional is, in its nature, very elastic ; and 
Bonaparte knew how to draw it out ad infinitum. The 
decree, moreover, enacted that if any of the uncondemned 
journals should insert articles against the sovereignty of the 
people they would be immediately suppressed. In truth, 
great indulgence was shown on this point, even after the 
Emperor's coronation. 

The presentation of swords and muskets of honour also 
originated at the Luxembourg; and this practice was, 
without doubt, a prepjiratory step to the foundation of 
the Legion of Honour.' A grenadier sergeant, named 
Leon Aune, who had been included in the first distribu- 
tion, easily obtained permission to write to the First Con- 
sul to thank him. Bonaparte, wishing to answer him 
in his own name, dictated to me the following letter for 
Aune : — 

I have received your letter, my brave comrade. You needed not 
to have told me of your exploits, for you are the bravest grenadier 
in the whole army since the death of Benezete. You received one 
of tlie liundrod sabres I distributed to the army, and all agreed you 
most deserved it. 

I wisb very much again to see you. The War IMinister sends you 
an order to como to Paris. 

* 'MrwuM «fAonntfttr," decreed 2Bth DcHombiT 1799, mii«kot« for Infantry, car- 
binon for ravnlry. jn-^-nodcH fornrtlllcry. hwokIh fur the ufllo-TH. Gouviou St. Cyr 
reeeivcU the Urst swurd (7'A<ct«, tumu 1. p. Viù). 


This Tvheedling wonderfully favoured Bonaparte's de- 
signs. His letter to Aune could not fail to be circulated 
through the army. A sergeant called my hrave comrade by 
the First Consul — the First General of France ! Who but 
a thorough Eepublican, the stanch friend of equality, 
would have done this ? This was enough to wind up the 
enthusiasm of the army. At the same time it must be 
confessed that Bonaparte began to find the Luxembourg 
too little for him, and preparations were set on foot at the 

Still this great step towards the re-establishment of the 
monarchy was to be cautiously prepared. It was impor- 
tant to do away with the idea that none but a king could 
occupy the palace of our ancient kings. What was to be 
done? A very fine bust of Brutus had been brought 
from Italy. Brutus was the destroyer of tyrants ! This 
was the very thing ; and David was commissioned to 
place it in a gallery of the Tuileries. Could there be a 
greater proof of the Consul's horror of tyranny ? 

To sleep at the Tuileries, in the bedchamber of the 
kings of France, was all that Bonaparte wanted ; the rest 
would follow in due course. He was willing to be satis- 
fied with establishing a principle the consequences of which 
were to be afterwards deduced. Hence the affectation of 
never inserting in official acts the name of the Tuileries, 
but designating that place as the Palace of the Govern- 
ment. The first preparations were modest, for it did not 
become a good Republican to be fond of pomp. Accord- 
ingly Lecomte, who was at that time architect of the Tui- 
leries, merely received orders to clean the Palace, an ex- 
pression which might bear more than one meaning, after 
the meetings which had been there. For this purpose 
the sum of 500,000 francs was sufficient Bonaparte's 
drift was to conceal, as far as possible, the importance he 
attached to the change of his Consular domicile. But lit- 
tle expense was requisite for fitting up apartments for 


the First Consul. Simple ornaments, such as marbles 
and statues, were to decorate the Palace of the Govern- 

Nothing escaped Bonaparte's consideration. Thus it 
was not merely at hazard that he selected the statues of 
great men to adorn the gallery of the Tuileries. Among 
the Greeks he made choice of Demosthenes and Alexan- 
der, thus rendering homage at once to the genius of elo- 
quence and the genius of victory. The statue of Hanni- 
bal was intended to recall the memory of Eome's most 
formidable enemy ; and Kome herself was represented in 
the Consular Palace by the statues of Scipio, Cicero, Cato, 
Brutus and Caesar — the victor and the immolator being 
placed side by side. Among the great men of modern 
times he gave the first place to Gustavus Adolphus, and 
the next to Turenne and the great Condé, — to Turenne in 
honour of his military talent, and to Condé to prove that 
there was nothing fearful in the recollection of a Bourbon. 
The remembrance of the glorious days of the French 
navy was revived by the statue of Duguai Trouin. 
Marlborough and Prince Eugene had also their places in 
the galleiy, as if to attest the disasters which marked the 
close of the great reign ; and Marshal Saxc, to show that 
Louis XV. 's reign was not without its glory. The statues 
of Frederick and Washington were emblematic of false 
philosophy on a throne and true wisdom founding a free 
state. Finally, the names of Dugommier, Dampierre, and 
Joubort were intended to bear evidence of the high esteem 
which Bonaparte cherished for his old comrades, — those 
illustrious victims to a cause which had now ceased to b« 

The reader has already been informed of the attempts 
made by Bonaparte to indu(;e England and Austria to 
negotiate with the Consular Government, which the King 
of Prussia was tlio first of tlie sovcireigns of Europe to 
recogniso. These attempts having proved unavailing, it 


became necessan^ to carry on the war with renewed vigour, 
and also to exjDlain why the peace, which had been prom- 
ised at the beginning of the Consulate, was still nothing 
but a promise. In fulfilment of these two objects Bona- 
parte addressed an energetic proclamation to the armies, 
which was remarkable for not being followed by the usual 
sacred words, " Vive la Republique ! " 

At the same time Bonaparte completed the formation of 
the Council of State, and divided it into five sections : — 
(1) The Interior ; (2) Finance ; (3) Marine ; (4) The War 
Department ; (5) Legislation. He fixed the salaries of the 
Councillors of the State at 25,000 francs, and that of the 
Presidents of Sections at 30,000. He settled the costume 
of the Consuls, the Ministers, and the difierent bodies 
of the State. This led to the re-introduction of velvet, 
which had been banished with the old regime, and the en- 
couragement of the manufactures of Lyons was the reason 
alleged for employing this un-republican article in the 
different dresses, such as those of the Consuls and Minis- 
ters. It was Bonaparte's constant aim to efface the Re- 
public, even in the utmost trifles, and to prepare matters 
so well that the customs and habits of monarchy being 
restored, there should only then remain a word to be 

I never remember to have seen Bonaparte in the Con- 
sular dress, which he detested, and which he wore only 
because duty required him to do so at public ceremonies. 
The only dress he was fond of, and in which he felt at ease, 
was that in which he subjugated the ancient Eridanus and 
the Nile, namely, the uniform of the Guides, to which corps 
Bonaparte was always sincerely attached. 

The masquerade of ofiicial dresses was not the only one 
which Bonaparte summoned to the aid of his policy. At 
that period of the year YHI. which corresponded with the 
carnival of 1800, masques began to be resumed at Paris. 
Disguises were all the fashion, and Bonaparte favoured the 


revival of old amusements ; first, because they were old, 
and next, because they were the means of diverting the 
attention of the people : for, as he had established the 
principle that on the field of battle it is necessary to divide 
the enemy in order to beat him, he conceived it no less 
advisable to divert the people in order to enslave them. 
Bonaparte did not say panem et circeiises, for I believe his 
knowledge of Latin did not extend even to that well-known 
phrase of Juvenal, but he put the maxim in practice. He 
accordingly authorised the revival of balls at the opera, 
which they who lived during that j^eriod of the Consulate 
know was an important event in Paris. Some gladly 
viewed it as a little conquest in favour of the old regime ; 
and others, who for that very reason disapproved it, were 
too shallow to understand the influence of little over great 
things. The women and the young men did not bestow 
a thought on the subject, but ;yielded willingly to the at- 
tractions of pleasure. Bonaparte, who was delighted at 
having provided a diversion for the gossiping of the Pari- 
sian salons, said to me one day, *' While they are chatting 
about all this, they do not babble upon politics, and that 
is what I want. Let them dance and amuse themselves as 
long as they do not thrust their noses into the Councils of 
the Government ; besides, Bourrienne," added he, "I have 
other reasons for encouraging tliis, I see other advantages 
in it. Trade is languishing ; Fouchc tells me that there 
are great complaints. This will set a little money in cir- 
culation ; besides, I am on my guard about the Jacobins. 
Everything is not bad, l)ecause it is not new. I prefer the 
opera-balls to the saturnaHa of the Goddess of Reason. I 
was never so enthusiastically applauded as at the last 

A Consular decision of a different and more important 
nature had, shortly before, namely, at the commencement 
of Nivôse, brought lia])piiK'Hs to many families, l^onaparte, 
as every one knows, had prej)arcd the events of the 18th 


Fnictidor that he might have some plausible reasons for 
overthrowing the Directory. The Directory being over- 
thrown, he was now anxious, at least in part, to undo what 
he had done on the 18th Fructidor. He therefore ordered 
a report on the persons exiled to be presented to him by 
the ]^linister of Police. In consequence of this report he 
authorised forty of them to return to France, placing them 
under the observation of the PoUce Minister, and assigning 
them their place of residence. However, they did not long 
remain under these restrictions, and many of them were 
soon called to fill high places in the Government. It was 
indeed natural that Bonaparte, still wishing, at least in 
appearance, to found his government on those principles 
of moderate rei:)ublicanism which had caused their exile, 
should invite them to second his views. 

Barrère wrote a justificatory letter to the First Consul, 
who, however, took no notice of it, for he could not get so 
far as to favour Barrère. Thus did Bonaparte receive into 
the Councils of the Consulate the men who had been exiled 
by the Directory, just as he afterwards appointed the emi- 
grants and those exiles of the Revolution to high offices 
under the Empire. The time and the men alone dif- 
fered ; the intention in both cases was the same. 

1800. 84fi 



Bonaparte and Paul L — Lord Whitworth — Baron Sprengporten's arrival 
at Paris — Paul's admiration of Bonaparte — Their close connection 
and correspondence — The royal challenge — General Mack — The road 
to Malmaison — Attempts at assassination — Death of Washington — 
National mourning — Ambitious calculation — M. de Fontanes, the 
skilful orator — Fête at the Temple of Mars — Murat's marriage with 
Caroline Bonaparte — Madame Bonaparte's pearls. 

The first communications between Bonaparte and Paul L 
commenced a short time after his accession to the Consu- 
late. Affairs then began to look a little less unf avom-able for 
France ; already vague reports from Switzerland and the 
banks of the Rhine indicated a coldness existing between 
the Russians and the Austrians ; and at the same time, 
symptoms of a misunderstanding between the Courts of 
London and St. Petersburg began to be perceptible. The 
First Consul, having in the meantime discovered the 
chivalrous and somewliat eccentric character of Paul I., 
thought the moment a propitious one to attempt breaking 
the bonds which united Russia and England. He was not 
the man to allow so fine an opportunity to pass, and he 
took advantage of it with his usual sagacity. The Eng- 
lish had some time before refused to include in a cartel 
for the exchange of prisoners 7000 Russians taken in Hol- 
land. Bonaparte ordered them all to be armed, and 
clothed in new uniforms appropriate to the corps to which 
they had belonged, and sent them back to Russia, without 
ransom, without exchange, or any condition whatever. 
This judicious munificence was not thrown away. Paul 


showed himself deeply sensible of it, îind closely allied as 
as he had lately been with England, he now, all at once, 
declared himself her enemy. This triumph of policy de- 
lighted the First ConsuL 

Thenceforth the Consul and the Czar became the best 
friends possible. They strove to outdo each other in pro- 
fessions of friendship ; and it may be believed that Bona- 
parte did not fail to turn this contest of politeness to his 
own advantage. He so well worked upon the mind of 
Paul that he succeeded in obtaining a direct influence 
over the Cabinet of St. Petersburg. 

Lord Whitworth, at that time the English ambassador 
in Russia, was ordered to quit the capital without delay, 
and to retire to Piiga, which then became the focus of the 
intrigues of the north which ended in the death of Paul. 
The English ships were seized in all the ports, and, at the 
pressing instance of the Czar, a Prussian army menaced 
Hanover. Bonaparte lost no time, and, profiting by the 
friendship manifested towards him by the inheritor of 
Catherine's power, determined to make that friendship 
subservient to the execution of the vast plan which he had 
long conceived : he meant to undertake an expedition by 
land against the English colonies in the East Indies. 

The arrival of Baron Sprengporten at Paris caused great 
satisfaction among the partisans of the Consular Govern- 
ment, that is to say, almost every one in Paris. ]M. Spreng- 
porten was a native of Swedish Finland. He had been 
appointed by Catherine chamberlain and lieutenant-gen- 
eral of her forces, and he was not less in favour with Paul, 
who treated him in the most distinguished manner. He 
came on an extraordinary mission, being ostensibly clothed 
with the title of plenipotentiary, and at the same time ap- 
pointed confidential ^Minister to the Consul. Bonaparte 
was extremely satisfied with the ambassador whom Paul 
had selected, and with the manner in which he described 
the Emperor's gratitude for the generous conduct of the 


First Consul. M. Sprengporten did not conceal the ex- 
tent of Paul's dissatisfaction with his allies. The bad 
issue, he said, of the war with France had already dis- 
posed the Czar to connect himself with that power, when 
the return of his troops at once determined him. 

We could easily perceive that Paul placed great confi- 
dence in M. Sprengporten. As he had satisfactorily dis- 
charged the mission with which he had been entrusted, 
Paul expressed pleasure at his conduct in several friendly 
and flattering letters, which Sprengporten always allowed 
us to read. No one could be fonder of France than he 
was, and he ardently desired that his first negotiations 
might lead to a long alliance between the Russian and 
French Governments. The autograph and very frequent 
correspondence between Bonaparte and Paul passed 
through his hands. I read all Paul's letters, which were 
remarkable for the frankness with which his affection for 
Bonaparte was expressed. His admiration of the First 
Consul was so great that no courtier could have written in 
a more flattering manner. 

This admu-ation was not feigned on the part of the Em- 
peror of Russia : it was no less sincere than ardent, and 
of this he soon gave proofs. The violent hatred he had 
conceived towards the English Government induced him 
to defy to single combat every monarch who would not de- 
clare war against England and shut his ports against Eng- 
lish ships. He inserted a challenge to the King of Den- 
mark in the St. Pcldn^hurg Court Gazette; but not choos- 
ing to apply officially to the Senate of Hamburg to order 
its insertion in tlie Corrcapondanty conducted by M. Stover, 
he sent the article, through Count Pahlen, toM. Schramm, 
a Hamburg merchant. Tlie Count told M. Schramm that 
tlio Enji)oror would be mucli j)leased to see tlie article of 
the St. I\ier^bnr(j Court Cazctte copied into the Correi^pond- 
ant; and that if it should be; inserted, he wished to have a 
dozen copies of the paper printed on vellum, and sent to 


liim by an extraordinary courier. It was Paul's intention 
to send a copy to evei-y sovereign in Europe ; but this 
piece of folly, after the manner of Charles XII., led to no 
further results. 

Bonaparte never felt greater satisfaction in the whole 
course of his life than he experienced from Paul's enthusi- 
asm for him. The friendship of a sovereign seemed to 
him a step by which he was to become a sovereign him- 
self. At the same time the affiiirs of La Vendée began to 
assume a better asjoect, and he hoped soon to effect that 
pacification in the interior which he so ardently desired.' 

1 This account agrees precisely with the following, dictated by Napoleon himself 
at St. Helena : — 

" The Emperor Paul had succeeded the Empress Catherine. Half frantic with his 
hostility to the French Revolution, he had performed what his mother had contented 
herself with promiBing ; and ent^aged in the secoud coalition. General Suwarrow, at 
the head of 60,000 Russians, advanced into Italy, whilst another Russian army en- 
tered Switzerland, and a corps of 15,000 men was placed by the Czar at the disposal 
of the Duke of York, for the purpose of conquering Holland. These were all the 
disposable forces the Russian Empire had. Suwarrow, although victorious at the 
battles of Cassano. the Trebbia, and Novi, had lost half his army in the St. Gothard, 
and the different valleys of Switzerland, after the battle of Zurich, in which Korsa- 
kow had been taken. Paul then became sensible of all the imprudence of his con- 
duct ; and in 1800 Suwarrow returned to Russia with scarcely a fourth of his army. 
The Emperor Paul complained bitterly of having lost the flower of his troops, who 
had neither been seconded by the Austrians nor by the English. He reproached the 
Cabinet of Vienna with having refused, after the conquest of Piçdmont, to replace 
the King of Sardinia upon his throne, with being destitute of grand and generous 
ideas, and wholly governed by calculation and interested views. He also complained 
that the English, when they took Malta, instead of reinstating the Order of St. John 
of Jerusalem, and restoring that island to the knights, had appropriated it to them- 
selves. Tho First Consul did all in his power to cherish these seeds of discontent, 
and to make them pro<luctive. A little after the battle of Marengo he found means 
to flatter the lively and impetuous imagination of the Czar by sending him tlie sword 
which Pope Leo X. had given to Tile Adam us a memorial of his satisfaction for hav- 
ing defended Rhodes against the infidels. From eight to ten thousand Russian sol- 
diers had been made prisoners in Italy, at Zurich, and in Holland : the First Consul 
proposed their exchange to the English and Austrians. both refused ; the Austrians, 
because there were still many of their people priscmers in France; and the Knglish, 
although they had a great number of French prisoners, because, as they said, this 
proposal was contrary to their principles. ' What ! ' it was said to the Cabinet of St. 
James, ' do you refuse to exchange even the Russians, who were taken in Holland, 
fighting in your own ranks under the Duke of York ? ' And to the Cabinet of Vienna 
it was observed, 'How! do you refuse to restore to their country men of the 
north to whom you are indebted for the victories of the Trebbia, and Novi, and for 
your conquests in Italy, and who have left in your hands a multitude of French 
prisoners taken by them ? Such injustice excites my indignation,' said the Firs* 


It was during the First Consul's residence at the Lux- 
embourg that the first report on the civil code was made 
to the legislative body. It was then, also, that the regu- 
lations for the management of the Bank of France were 
adopted, and that establishment so necessary to France 
was founded. 

There was at this time in Paris a man who has acquired 
an unfortunate celebrity, the most unlucky of modern gen- 
erals — in a word, General Mack. I should not notice that 
person here were it not for the prophetic judgment which 
Bonaparte then pronounced on him. Mack had been 
obliged to suiTender himself at Championnet some time 
before our landing at Frejus. He was received as a pris- 
oner of war, and the town of Dijon had been appointed 
his place of residence, and there he remained until after 
the 18th Brumaire. Bonaparte, now Consul, permitted 

Consul. ' Well ! I will restore them to the Czar without exchange ; he shall see how 
I CBteem brave men.' The RuHsian officers who were prisoners immediately received 
their nwords, and the troops of that nation were assembled at Aix-la Chapelle, where 
they were soon complet<>ly new clothed, and furnished with good arms of French 
manufacture. A Russian general was instructed to organize them in battalions and 
regiments. This blow struck at once at London and St. Petersburg. Paul, attacked 
iu so mauy different directions, gave way to his enthusiastic temper, and attached 
himself to France with all the ardour of his character. He despatched a letter to 
the FirHt Connul, in which he said, 'Citizen, First Consul, I do not write to you to 
discuss the rights of men or citizens : every country governs itself as it pleases. 
Wherever I see at the head of a nation a man who knows how to rule and how to 
fight, my heart is attracted towards him. I write to acquaint you of my dissatisfac- 
tion with England, who violates every article; of the law of nations, and has no guide 
but her egotism and interest. I wish to unite with you to put an end to the unjust 
proceedings of that Government.' 

" In the bej-'inning of December IROO General SprcngporU'n, a Finlander, who had 
entered the Kussian service, and who in his heurt was attached to France, arrived 
at I'ariK. lie brought letters from the Kmperor Paul, and was inHtructed to take the 
command of the Russian priRonors, and to conduct them to their country. All the 
offlrorH of that nation wh<» returned to Russia constjintly spoke in the highcht terms 
of the kind treatment and utUmtion they had met with in France, particuhirly after 
the arrival of the First C<»nBul. The correspondence betwet^n the Km|Kror and Na- 
poleon H(Km bocauK! daily ; fhey treated directly on the most important interest»*, and 
on tho memiH of humbling the Kni/iish power. General Spreng|M)rten was not in- 
structed to make peace ; lie had no powers for that |>urpow ; lu-itiior was he an am- 
bassador ; i>eaf;e did not exist. It was therefore an extraordinary mission, which 
allowo<l of this general's bemg treated with every distinction ailculuted U^ gratify the 
sovereign who had aent him, without the i.ossibilty of the occurrence of any luoon- 
▼enlence from such attontlouM" {\ujwleons Meinoira). 


him to come to Paris, and to reside there on his 
He applied for leave to go to Vienna, pledpfing himself to 
return again a prisoner to France if the Emperor Francis 
would not consent to exchange him for Generals Perignon 
and Grouchy, then prisoners in Austria. His request was 
not granted, but hv.i proposition was forwarded to Vienna. 
The Court of Vienna refused to accede to it, not placing 
perhaps so much importance on the deliverance of Mack 
as he had flattered himself it would.' 

Bonaparte speaking to me of him one day said, *'Mack 
is a man of the lowest mediocrity I ever saw in my life ; 
he is full of self-sufficiency and conceit, and believes him- 
self equal to anything. He has no talent. I should like 
to see him opposed some day to one of our good generals ; 
we should then see fine work. He is a boaster, and that 
is all. He is really one of the most silly men existing ; 
and, besides all that, he is unlucky." Was not this opinion 
of Bonaparte, formed on the past, fully verified by the 
future ? 

It was at Malmaison that Bonaparte thus spoke of Gen- 
eral Mack. That place was then far from resembling what 

1 Mack escaped from Paris in the month of April ISOO. He aftcmards contrived 
to excuse the faults which had been imputed to him, and insinuated himself into the 
good graces of the Emperor of Austria. Ej- means of boasting, intriguing, and plot- 
ting, he at last succeeded in obtaining employment. He constantly- railed against 
France, and spoke of nothing but his desire to revenge his captivity at Paris. His 
deeds, however, did not correspond with his threats. Every one knows how he re- 
venged himself at Ulm in the commencement of the campaign of 1S05. He would 
infallibly have paid the forfeit of his head for surrendering that town had not Bo- 
naparte, then the Emperor Napoleon, stipiUated for his life in one of the articles of 
the treaty of Presbnrg. — Boitrrienne. 

Jomini is not bo hard upon Mack's failure as some of the non-military writers. At 
tome ii. p. ICO. lie says, "Posterity, with more information than we have on tho 
combinations of Mack and of the Cabinet of Vienna, will allot to each of them their 
eliare of the blame. It has been said that Mack had in his army a powerful party 
disliking him, that he was thwarted and badly obeyed, and that his army was scat- 
tered against his own wishes. This is quite possible, but a commander-in-chief ought 
not to consent to be the instrument of the ruin of his army. When placed betwixt 
dishonour and glory, between the safety of the State and the loss of his army, he 
should know how to act a worthy part." There is no mention of Mack in the treaty 
of Presburg (unleps in a secret article). Uo was condemned to death, but only im 
prisoned for two years. 


it afterwards became, and the road to it was neither pleas- 
ant nor sure. There was not a house on the road ; and 
in the evening, during the season when we were there, it 
was not frequented all the way from St. Germain. Those 
numerous vehicles, which the demands of luxury and an 
increasing population have created, did not then, as now, 
pass along the roads in the environs of Paris. Everywhere 
the road was solitary and dangerous ; and I learned with 
certainty that many schemes were laid for carrying off the 
First Consul during one of his evening journeys.' They 
were unsuccessful, and orders were given to enclose the 
quarries, which were too near to the road. On Saturday 
evening Bonaparte left the Luxembourg, and afterwards 
the Tuileries, to go to Malmaison, and I cannot better ex- 
press the joy he then appeared to experience tlian by com- 
paring it to the delight of a school-boy on getting a holiday. 
Before removing from the Luxembourg to the Tuileries 
Bonaparte determined to dazzle the eyes of the Parisians 
by a splendid ceremony. He had appointed it to take 
place on the décadi, Pluviôse 20 (9th February 1800), that 
is to say, ten days before his final departure from the old 
Directorial palace. Tliese kinds oifCtes did not resemble 
what they afterwards became ; their attraction consisted 
in the splendour of military dress : and Bonaparte was 
always sure that whenever he mounted his horse, sur- 
rounded by a brilliant staff from which he was to be 
distinguished by the simplicity of his costume, his path 

• Amonff thfi vnrioiis atteirptH on tho life of Bonfipurte which are said to have been 
mad») at this period tht; follcjwinp in tiu-ntioiicd i)y CnnsLiint : — 

"Some rfpiiiiH and fiiil)clliMhiiH'iit« were nciuin-d in the flreplaccK of the First 
Consul'H npnrtincritH at MnlniuiMon. Amonjf the workmen who were pent to exécute 
thi'Ho repuirs there were i-oine f(ïllowH of HiispicioiiK apinmrance and manner, who, It 
wat» conjectured, wen- brilvd by consi)iratorM. This HH)ipoHiiion provi-d but too well 
founded. When the af)artnjont'< were ready for the rei-eptlon of the First Conoul 
there wa» found on liia desk a HiiufT box prcciscly r> Komblin« one of thoKO which ho 
wan In the habit of uhIiik. It wan at first >n:ipo-;ed that the t)ox had been acriden- 
tidly left there by one of the V)di>ti«; but tlie KUHpieiouH evcited by the equivocal a|>- 
jMjarancc of Hoin*- of the workmen huvint? ae<|\iired additional <on(lrmatiou, it waâ 
deemed advi/*ablo to anulyne the huuII. It waH discovered to bo polnouod." 


would be crowded and himself greeted with acclamations 
by the people of Paris. The object of ihx^ftte was at first 
only to present to the Hôtel des Invalides, then called the 
Temple of Mars, seventy-two flags taken from the Turks 
in the battle of Aboukir and brought from Egypt to Paris ; 
but intelligence of Washington's death, who expired on 
the 14th of December 1799, having reached Bonaparte, he 
eagerly took advantage of that event to produce more effect, 
and mixed the mourning cypress with the laurels he had 
collected in Egypt. 

Bonaparte did not feel much concerned at the death of 
"Washington, that noble founder of rational freedom in the 
new world ; but it afforded him an opportunity to mask 
his ambitious projects under the appearance of a love of 
liberty. In thus rendering honour to the memory of 
Washington everybody would suppose that Bonaparte in- 
tended to imitate his example, and that their two names 
would pass in conjunction from mouth to mouth. A 
clever orator might be employed, who, while pronouncing 
a eulogium on the dead, would contrive to bestow some 
praise on the living ; and when the people were applaud- 
ing his love of liberty he would find himself one step nearer 
the throne, on which his eyes were constantly fixed. When 
the proper time arrived, he would not fail to seize the 
crown ; and would still cry, if necessar}', *' Vive la Li- 
berté ! " while placing it on his imperial head. 

The skilful orator was found. M. de Fontanes' was com- 
missioned to pronounce the funeral eulogium on Washing- 
ton, and the flowers of eloquence which he scattered about 
did not all fall on the hero of America. 

Lannes^ was entrusted by Bonaparte with the presenta- 

> L. de FontanPH (17r.7-1R21) became president of the CorpH LrgiHlatif, Senator, 
and Grand Master of the University. Ho wnH the centre of the literary fcroup of the 

' Jean LanneH (17691«()9), named Colonel by Napoleon on the field of Millesimo; 
Marshal, 1804 ; Due de Montebello. Took Saragossa. Died of woundu eight days 
after the battle of SBsling. 

1800. CAREER OF MURAT. 353 

tion of the flags ; and on the 20th Plu\dôse he proceeded, 
accompanied by strong detachments of the cavah-y then in 
Paris, to the council-hall of the Invalides, where he was 
met by the Minister of War, who received the colours. 
All the Ministers, the councillors of State, and generals 
were summoned to the presentation. Lannes pronounced 
a discourse, to which Berthier replied, and M. de Fontanes 
added his well-managed eloquence to the plain military 
oratory of the two generals. In the interior of this mili- 
tary temple a statue of Mars sleeping had been placed, and 
from the pillars and roof were suspended the trophies of 
Denain, Fontenoy, and the campaign of Italy, which would 
still have decorated that edifice had not the demon of con- 
quest possessed Bonaparte. Two Invalides, each said to be 
a hundred years old, stood beside the Minister of War ; 
and the bust of the emancipator of America was placed 
under the trophy composed of the flags of Aboukir. In a 
word, recourse was had to every sort of charlatanism usual 
on such occasions. In the evening there was a numerous 
assembly at the Luxembourg, and Bonaparte took much 
credit to himself for the effect produced on this remark- 
able day. He had only to wait ten days for his removal 
to the Tuileries, and precisely on that day the national 
mourning for Washington was to cease, for which a general 
mourning for freedom might well have been substituted. 

I have said very little about Miirat in the course of 
these Memoirs except mentioning the brilliant part ho 
performed in several battles. Having now arrived at the 
period of his marriage with one of Napoleon's sisters I 
take the o})i)ortunity of returning to the interesting events 
which preceded that alliance. 

His fine and well-proportioned form, his great physical 
strength and somewhat refined elegance of manner, tho 
fire of his eye, and his fierce courage in battle, gave to 
Murat rather the character of one of those jn'CAix chrva- 
liers so well desciibed by Ai-iosto and Tasso, than that of 
Vol. 1.-23 


a Kepublican soldier. The nobleness of his look soon 
made the lowness of his birth be forgotten. He was affa- 
ble, polished, gallant ; and in the field of battle twenty 
men headed by Murat were worth a whole regiment. 
Once only he showed himself under the influence of fear,' 
and the reader shall see in what circumstance it was that 
he ceased to be himself. 

Wlien Bonaparte in his first Italian campaign had forced 
Wurmser to retreat into Mantua with 28,000 men, he 
directed Miollis, with only 4000 men, to oppose any sortie 
that might be attempted by the Austrian general. In one 
of these sorties Murat, who was at the head of a very weak 
detachment, was ordered to charge "WiiiTQser. He was 
afraid, neglected to execute the order, and in a moment 
of confusion said that he was wounded. Murat imme- 
diately fell into disgrace with the General-in-Chief, whose 
aide de camj) he was. 

Murat had been previously sent to Paris to present to 
the Directoiy the first colours taken by the French army 
of Italy in the actions of Dego and Mondovd, and it was 
on this occasion that he got acquainted with Madame 
Tallien and the wife of his General. But he' already knew 
the beautiful Caroline Bonaparte, whom he had seen at 
Kome in the residence of her brother Joseph, who was 
then discharging the functions of ambassador of the 
Eepublic. It apj^ears that Caroline was not even indiffer- 
ent to him, and that he was the successful rival of the 
Princess Santa Croce's son, who eagerly sought the honour 
of her hand. Madame Tallien and Madame Bonaparte 
received with great kindness the first aide de camp, and 
as they possessed much influence with the Directory, they 
solicited, and easily obtained for him, the rank of briga- 

J Marshal Lannea, so brave and brilliant in war and so well able to appréciât» 
courage, one day sharply rebuked a culonel for hiving punished a young officer just 
arrived from school at Fontainebleau because he g;ive evidence of fear in his first 
engagement. " Know, colonel,"' said he, " none but a poltroon [the term was even 
more strong] will boust that he never was afraid."— Zfourricn/ie. 


dier-general. It was somewliat remarkable at that time 
for Marat, notwithstanding his newlj^-acquired rank, to 
remain Bonaparte's aide de camp, the regulations not 
allowing a general-in-chief an aide de camp of higher rank 
than chief of brigade, which was equal to that of colonel. 
This insignificant act was, therefore, rather a hasty antici- 
pation of the prerogatives everywhere reserved to princes 
and kings. 

It was after having discharged this commission that 
Marat, on his return to Italy, fell into disfavour with the 
General-in-Chief. He indeed looked upon him with a sort 
of hostile feeling, and placed him in Keille's division, and 
afterwards Baraguay d'Hilliers' ; consequently, when we 
went to Paris, after the treaty of Campo-Formio, Murat 
was not of the party. But as the ladies, with whom he 
was a great favourite, were not devoid of influence with 
the Minister of War, Murat was, by their interest, attached 
to the engineer corps in the expedition to Egypt. On 
board the Orient he remained in the most complete dis- 
gi-ace. Bonaparte did not address a word to him during 
the passage ; and in Egypt the General-in-Chief always 
treated him with coldness, and often sent him from 
the headquarters on disagreeable services. However, the 
General-in-Chief having opposed him to Mourad Bey, 
Murat performed such prodigies of valour in every 
perilous encounter that he effaced the transitory stain 
which a momentary hesitation under the walls of Mantua 
had left on his character. Finally, Murat so powerfully 
contributed to the success of tlie day at Aboukir that Bo- 
naparte, glud to bo able to carry another laurel plucked iu 
Eg}'pt to France, forgot the fault which had made so un- 
favourable an impression, and was inclined to eiïaco from 
liis memory ()ih<»r things tliat ho had hoard to the disad- 
vantage of Murat ; for I have good reasons for believing, 
though Bonaparte never told mo so, tliat Murat's name, 
9& well as that of Charles, escaped from the hps of Junot 


when he made his indiscreet communication to Bonaparte 
at the walls of Messoudiah. The charge of grenadiers, 
commanded by Murat on the 19th Brumaire in the hall 
of the Five Hundred, dissipated all the remaining traces 
of dislike ; and in those moments when Bonaparte's j^olit- 
ical views subdued every other sentiment of his mind, the 
rival of the Prince Santa Croce received the command of 
the Consular Guard.' 

It may reasonably be supposed that Madame Bonaparte, 
in endeavouring to win the friendship of Murat by aiding 
his promotion, had in view to gain one partisan more to 
ox^pose to the family and brothers of Bonaparte ; and of 
this kind of support she had much need. Their jealous 
hatred was displayed on every occasion ; and the amiable 
Josephine, whose only fault was being too much of the 
woman, was continually tormented by sad presentiments. 
Carried away by the easiness of her character, she did not 
perceive that the coquetry which enlisted for her so many 
defenders also suj^plied her implacable enemies with 
weapons to use against her. 

In this state of things Josephine, who was well con- 
vinced that she had attached Murat to herself by the 
bonds of friendship and gratitude, and ardently desired 
to see him united to Bonaparte by a family connection, 

' JoHchim Ifurat (1771-1815), the pon of an innkeeper, aiile de camp to Napoleon 
in Itfily, etc.; il»rflhal, 1SU4 ; Prince in 18U5 ; Grand Admiral; Grand Due de 
Berg ft d»' Clever, 1806: King of Naples, 18US. Shot by Bourbons I3th October 
1815. Married Caroline Bonaparte (third sipter of Napoleon) 20th January ISOO. 

Joseph WAS not ambassador till long after the battle of Mondovi, so Murat could 
not have met Caroline at h-.s house in Rome. There are several mistakes in this 
parapraph (see En-efirx. tome i. pp. fi, 259. "12t. rioille, at the time Ronrrienno 
speaks of, was a captain on the staff of Masscna, and only became general of division 
in 18*37. As M'lrat embirked from Genoa for F.gypt he was not on board the Orient, 
but on the ArlémVfe. This asserted cowardice of Murat is denied by Erreurs (tome 
i. p. 0). Sec also Erreurs (tome ii. p. 61) giving details of the series of posts given 
by Napoleon to him to prove that he was not under any disgrace. Joseph Bona- 
)iart« (Erreurx, tome i. p. 2.")9) denies that ^^nrat■s name was mentioned in connec- 
tion with Josephine"». It has been already seen that the conversation at Messoudiah 
could not have taken pluce ; see p. 16S. as well as Erreurs, tome I. pp. 4, 51, and 
(TAbrantès, vol. ii. p. 32, eighth line from bottom. 


favoured with all her influence his marriage with Caroline. 
She was not ignorant that a close intimacy had already 
sprung up at Milan between Caroline and Murat, and she 
was the first to propose a marriage. Murat hesitated, and 
went to consult M. Collot, who was a good adviser in all 
things, and whose intimacy with Bonaparte had initiated 
liim into all the secrets of the family. M. Collot advised 
Murat to lose no time, but to go to the First Consul and 
formally demand the hand of his sister. Murat followed 
his advice. Did he do well ? It was to this step that he 
owed the throne of Naples. If he had abstained he would 
not have been shot at Pizzo. Sed ipsi Dei fata rumpere 
non possunt ! 

However that might be, Bonaparte received, more in 
the manner of a sovereign than of a brother in arms, the 
proposal of Murat. He heard him with unmoved gravity, 
said that he would consider the matter, but gave no posi- 
tive answer. 

This affair was, as may be supposed, the subject of 
conversation in the evening in the salon of the Luxem- 
bourg. Madame Bonaparte employed all her powers of 
persuasion to obtain the First Consul's consent, and her 
efforts were seconded by Hortense, Eugène, and myself. 
*' Murat," said he, among other things, ** Murat is an inn- 
keeper's son. In the elevated rank where glory and fort- 
une liave placed me, I never can mix his blood with mine I 
Besides, there is no hurry: I shall see by and by." \Vg 
forcibly described to him the reciprocal affection of th« 
two young people, and did not fail to bring to his obser- 
vation Murat's devoted attachment to his person, his 
splendid courage and noble conduct in Egypt. "Yes," 
said he, with warmth, "I agree with you ; Murat was 
superb at Aboukir." Wo did not allow so favourable a 
moment to pass by. Wo redoubled our entreaties, and 
at last he consented. When wo were together in his 
cabinet in the evening, "Well, IJourrienne," isaid he to 


me, "you ought to be satisfied, and so am I, too, every- 
thing considered. Murat is suited to my sister, and tlien 
no one can say that I am proud, or seek grand alliances. 
If I had given my sister to a noble, all your Jacobins 
would have raised a cry of counter-revolution. Besides, 
I am very glad that my wife is interested in this marriage, 
and you may easily suppose the cause. Since it is deter- 
mined on, I will hasten it forward ; we have no time to 
lose. If I go to Italy I will take Murat with me. I must 
strike a decisive blow there. Adieu." 

When I entered the First Consul's chamber at seven 
o'clock the next day he appeared even more satisfied than 
on the preceding evening with the resolution he had taken. 
I easily perceived that in spite of all his cunning, he had 
failed to discover the real motive which had induced 
Josephine to take so lively an interest respecting Murat's 
marriage with Caroline. Still Bonaparte's satisfaction 
plainly showed that his wife's eagerness for the marriage 
had removed all doubt in his mind of the falsity of the 
calumnious reports which had prevailed respecting her 
intimacy with Murat. 

The marriage of Murat and Caroline was celebrated at the 
Luxembourg, but with great modesty.' The First Consul 
did not yet think that his family affairs were affairs of state. 
But previously to the celebration a little comedy was enacted 
in which I was obliged to take a part, and I will relate how. 

At the time of the marriage of Murat Bonaparte had not 
much money, and therefore only gave his sister a dowry 
of 30,000 francs. Still, thinking it necessary to make her 
a marriage present, and not possessing the means to 
purchase a suitable one, he took a diamond necklace which 
belonged to his wife and gave it to the bride. Josephine 
was not at all pleased with this robbery, and taxed her 
wits to discover some means of replacing her necklace. 

• The marriage of Murat was celebrated in the Commune of I'laillj', near Morta- 
fontainc, in the department of the Oise (Joseph in Erreurs, tome i. p. 259). 


(king ofnaple: 



Josephine was aware that the celebrated jeweller Foncier 
possessed a magnificent collection of fine pearls which 
had belonged, as he said, to the late Queen, Marie An^ 
toinette. Having ordered them to be brought to her to 
examine them, she thought there were sufficient to make 
a very fine necklace. But to make the purchase 250,000 
francs were required, and how to get them was the diffi- 
culty. Madame Bonaparte had recourse to Berthier, who 
was then Minister of War. Berthier, after biting his 
nails according to his usual habit, set about the liquida- 
tion of the debts due for the hospital service in Italy with 
as much speed as possible ; and as in those days the con- 
tractors whose claims were admitted overflowed with 
gratitude towards their patrons, through whom they ob- 
tained payment, the pearls soon passed from Foncier's 
shop to the casket of Madame Bonaparte. 

The pearls being thus obtained, there was still another 
difficulty, which Madame Bonaparte did not at first think 
of. How was she to wear a necklace purchased without her 
husband's knowledge ? ludeed it was the more difficult 
for her to do so as the First Consul knew very well that 
his wife had no money, and being, if I may be allowed the 
expression, sometliing of the busybody, he knew, or be- 
lieved he knew, all Josephine's jewels. The pearls were 
therefore condemned to remain more than a fortnight in 
Madame Bonaparte's casket without her daring to use 
them. What a punishment for a woman ! At length her 
vanity overcame her prudence, and being unable to conceal 
the jewels any longer, she one day said to me, *'Bourrienne, 
there is to be a large party here to-morrow, and I abso- 
lutely must wear my pearls. But you know he will 
grumble if he notices thorn. I l)og, Bourrienne, that you 
will keep near me. If lie asks me where I got my pearla 
I must tell him, without hesitatiou, that I have had them 
a long time." 

Everything happeued a» Josephine feared and looped. 


Bonaparte, on seeing the pearls, did not fail to say to 
Madame, " What is it you have got there ? How fine you 
are to-day ! Where did you get these pearls ? I think I 
never saw them before." — " Oh ! mon Dieu ! you have seen 
them a dozen times ! It is the necklace which the Cisal- 
pine Republic gave me, and which I now wear in my hair." 

— '' But I think "— " Stay : ask Bourrieune, he will tell 

you." — " "Well, Bourrienne, what do you say toit? Do 
you recollect the necklace ? " — " Yes, General, I recollect 
very well seeing it before." This was not untrue, for 
Madame Bonaparte had previously shown me the pearls. 
Besides, she had received a pearl necklace from the 
Cisalpine Republic, but of incomparably less value than 
that purchased from Foncier. Josephine performed her 
part with charming dexterity, and I did not act amiss 
the character of accomplice assigned me in this little 
comedy. Bonaparte had no suspicions. When I saw the 
easy confidence with which Madame Bonaparte got 
through this scene, I could not help recollecting Suzanne's 
reflection on the readiness with which well-bred ladies can 
tell falsehoods mthout seeming to do so. 

1800. 361 



Police on police — False information — Dexterity of Fouchë — Police agents 
deceived — Money ill applied — Inutility of political police — Bonaparte's 
opinion — General considerations — My appointment to the Préfecture 
of police. 

Before taking up his quarters in the Tuileries the First 
Consul organised his secret police, which was intended, at 
the same time, to be the rival or check upon Fouché's 
police. Daroc and Moncey were at first the Directors 
of this poUce ; afterwards Davoust and Junot. Madame 
Bonaparte called this business a vile system of espionage. 
My remarks on the inutihty of the measure were made in 
vain. Bonaparte had the weakness at once to fear Fouche 
and to think him necessary.' Fouche, whose talents at 
this trade are too well known to need my approbation, 
soon discovered this secret institution, and the names of 
all the subaltern agents employed by the chief agents. It 
is difficult to form an idea of the nonsense, absurdity, and 
falsehood contained in the bulletins drawn up by the 
noble and ignoble agents of the police.' I do not mean 
to enter into details on this nauseating subject ; and I 
shall only trespass on the reader's patience by relating, 
though it be in anticipation, one fact which concerns my- 
self, and which will prove that spies and their wretched 
reports cannot be too much distrusted. 

Dui-ing the second year of the Consulate we were estab- 
lished at Malmaison. Junot hud a very largo sum at hia 

> Or the ftblUty to undf-rHUind hlH mnn iiml still to ntlUM him?— /V<fiMr'* D^vil. 
* ilvlercuow to the bad i-fluct of tUo Mxjrel puliuv wiU b« fouud in ia*fet of tho m«- 


disposal for the secret police of the capital. He gave 3000 
francs of it to a wretched manufacturer of bulletins ; the 
remainder was expended on the pohce of his stable and 
his table. In reading one of these daily bulletins I saw 
the following lines : — 

" M. de Bourrienne icent last night to Pans. He entered 
an hotel of the Faubourg St. Germain, Rue de Varenne, and 
there, in the course of a very animated discussion, he gave it 
to be understood that the First Consul wished to make himself 

As it happens, I never had opened my mouth, either 
respecting what Bonaparte had said to me before we went 
to Egyi^t or respecting his other frequent conversations 
with me of the same nature, during this period of his Con- 
sulship. I may here observe, too, that I never quitted, nor 
ever could quit Malmaison for a moment. At any time, 
by night or day, I was subject to be called for by the First 
Consul, and, as very often was the case, it so happened 
that on the night in question he had dictated to me notes 
and instructions uutil three o'clock in the morning. 

Junot came every day to Malmaison at eleven o'clock in 
the morning. I called him that day into my cabinet, when 
I happened to be alone. ** Have you not read your bulle- 
tin? " said I. — " Yes, I have." — "Nay, that is impossible." 
— " Why? " — "Because, if you had, you would have sup- 
pressed an absurd story which relates to me." — ''Ah!" 
he replied, " I am sorry on your account, but lean depend 
on my agent, and I will not alter a word of his rej^ort." I 
then told him all that had taken place on that night ; but 
he was obstinate, and went away unconvinced. 

Every morning I placed all the papers which the First 
Consul had to read on his table, and among tlie first was 
Junot's report. The First Consul entered and read it ; ou 

inolrs of the time of Napoleon, but nowhere rtronger than in those of Savary, Due d« 
Rovigo, himself the Minister of Police from ISIO to 1S14. See Savary, e.g., tome 
▼ . p. 29. 


coming to the passage concerning me he began to smile. 
''Have you read this bulletin?" — "Yes, General." — 
" What an ass that Junot is ! " — " It is a long time since I 
have known that." — "How he allows himself to be en- 
trapped ! Is he still here ? " — " I believe so. I have just 
seen him, and made observations to him, all in good part, 
but he would hear nothing." — "Tell him to come here.'* 
When Junot appeared Bonaparte began — "Imbecile that 
you are ! how could you send me such reports as these ? 
Do you not read them ? How shall I be sure that you will 
not compromise other persons equally un justty ? I w^ant 
positive facts, not inventions. It is some time since your 
agent displeased me ; dismiss him directly." Junot wanted 
to justify himself, but Bonaparte cut him short — *' Enough ! 
— It is settled ! " 

I related what had passed to Fouche, who told me that, 
wishing to amuse himself at Junot's expense, whose police 
agents only picked up what they heard related in coffee- 
houses, gaming-houses, and the Bourse, he had given cur- 
rency to this absurd story, which Junot had credited and 
reported, as he did many other foolish tales. Fouche 
often caught the police of the Palace in the snares he laid 
for them, and tlius increased his own credit. 

This circumstance, and others of the same natiu'c, in- 
duced the First Consul to attach less importance than at 
first he had to his secret police, which seldom reported 
anytliing but false and silly stories. That wretched po- 
lice ! During the time I was with him it embittered his 
life, and often exasperated him ag;iiust his wife, his rela- 
tions, and friends.' Rapp, who was as frank as he was 
brave, tolls us in his Mc.moin^ (p. 'l'^'^) that when Napoleon, 
during liis retreat from Moscow, while before Smolensko, 
heard of the attempt of Mîillet," he could not get over the 

' Bourrieiino, it iduhL be reincuibi^rinl, wan u buffercr from the vi^rilunlHJ of thU 

' For the oonapiracy of Mallot, «oe further on in Uiiu work, under the yi-ivr 1812, 


adventure of the Police Minister, Savary, and the Prefect 
of Police, Pasquier. "Napoleon," says Rapp, "was not 
surprised that these wretches (he means the agents of the 
police) who crowd the salons and the taverns, who insin- 
uate themselves everywhere and obstruct ever^-thing, 
should not have found out the plot, but he could not 
understand the weakness of the Due de Rovigo. The 
very police which professed to divine everything had let 
themselves be taken by surprise." The police possessed 
no foresight or faculty of prevention. Eveiy silly thing 
that transpired was reported either from malice or stu- 
pidit}'. What was heard was misunderstood or distorted 
in the recital, so that the onlj' result of the plan was mis- 
chief and confusion. 

The police as a political engine is a dangerous thing. 
It foments and encourages more false conspiracies than it 
discovers or defeats real ones. Napoleon has related 
" that M. de la Rochefoucauld formed at Paris a conspir- 
acy in favour of the King, then at Mittau, the first act of 
which was to be the death of the Chief of the Government. 
The plot being discovered, a trusty person belonging to 
the police was ordered to join it and become one of the 
most active agents. He brought letters of recommenda- 
tion from an old gentleman in Lorraine who had held a 
distinguished rank in the army of Condé." After this, 
what more can be wanted ? A hundred examples could not 
better show the vileness of such a system. Napoleon, 
when fallen, himself thus disclosed the scandalous means 
employed by his Government. 

Napoleon on one occasion, in the Isle of Elba, said to 
an ofiicer who was conversing with him about France, 
" You believe, then, that the police agents foresee every- 
thing and know everything ? They invent more than they 
discover. Mine, I believe, was better than that they have 
got now, and yet it was often only by mere chance, the im- 
prudence of the parties implicated, or the treachery of 


some of them, that something was discovered after a week 
or fortnight's exertion." Napoleon, in directing this offi- 
cer to transmit letters to him under the cover of a com- 
mercial correspondence, to quiet his apprehensions that 
the correspondence might be discovered, said, '' Do 
you think, then, that all letters are opened at the post 
office ? They would never be able to do so. I have often 
endeavoured to discover what the correspondence was 
that passed under mercantile forms, but I never succeeded. 
The post office, like the police, catches only fools." 

Since I am on the subject of political police, that lep- 
rosy of modern society, perhaps I may be allowed to over- 
step the order of time, and advert to its state even in the 
present day. 

The Minister of Police, to give his prince a favourable 
idea of his activity, contrives great conspiracies, which he 
is pretty sure to discover in time, because he is their orig- 
inator. The inferior agents, to find favour in the eyes 
of the Minister, contrive small plots. It would be diffi- 
cult to mention a conspiracy which has been discovered, 
except when the police agents took part in it, or were its 
promoters. It is difficult to conceive how those agents 
can feed a little intrigue, the result at first, perhaps, of 
some petty ill-humour and discontent which, thanks to 
their skill, soon becomes a great affair. How many con- 
spiracies have escaped the boasted activity and vigilance 
of the police when none of its agents were parties. I 
may instance Babeuf's conspiracy, the attempt at the camp 
at Grenelle, the 18th Brumaire, the infernal machine, 
Mallet, the 20th of March, the affiiir of Grenoble, and 
man}' others. 

Tlio political police, the result of the troubles of the 
Revolution, has survived them. The civil police for the 
security of property, health, and order, is only made a 
secondary object, and has been, therefore, neglected. 
There are times in which it is thouj^ht of more conse- 


quence to discover wliether a citizen goes to mass or con- 
fession than to defeat the designs of a band of robbers. 
Such a state of things is unfortunate for a country ; and 
the money expended on a system of superintendence over 
persons alleged to be suspected, in domestic inquisitions, 
in the corruption of the friends, relations, and servants of 
the man marked out for destruction might be much better 
employed. The espionage of opinion, created, as I have 
said, by the revolutionary troubles, is suspicious, restless, 
officious, inquisitorial, vexatious, and tyrannical. Indiffer- 
ent to crimes and real offences, it is totally absorbed in 
the inquisition of thoughts. Who has not heard it said in 
company, to some one speaking vrarmly, " Be moderate, 
M is supposed to belong to the police." This po- 
lice enthralled Bonaparte himself in its snares, and held 
him a long time under the influence of its power. 

I have taken the liberty thus to speak of a scourge of 
society of which I have been a victim. What I here state 
may be relied on. I shall not speak of the week during 
which I had to discharge the functions of Prefect of Po- 
Hce, namely, from the 131h to the 20th of March 1815. 
It may well be supposed that though I had not held in 
abhorrence the infamous system which I have described, 
the important nature of the circumsiances and the short 
period of my administration must have prevented me 
from making complete use of the means placed at my dis- 
posal. The dictates of discretion, which I consider my- 
self bound to obey, forbid me giving proofs of what I ad- 
vance. What it was necessary to do I accomplished with- 
out employing violent or vexatious means ; and I can take 
on myself to assert that no one has cause to complain of me. 
Were I to publish the list of the persons I had orders to 
arrest, those of them who are yet living would be aston- 
ished that the only knowledge they had of my being the 
Prefect of Police was from the Moniteur. I obtained by 
mild measures, by persuasion, and reasoning what I could 


never have got by violence. I am not divulging any se- 
crets of office, but I believe I am rendering a service to 
the public iu pointing out what I have often observed while 
an unwilling confidant in the shameful manoeuvres of that 
poltical institution. 

The word ideologue was often in Bonaparte's mouth ; and 
in using it he endeavoured to throw ridicule on those men 
whom he fancied to have a tendency towards the doctrine 
of indefinite perfectibility. He esteemed them for their 
morality, yet he looked on them as dreamers seeking for 
the type of a universal constitution, and considering the 
character of man in the abstract only. The idéologues, ac- 
cording to him, looked for power in institutions ; and that 
he called metaphysics. He had no idea of power except in 
direct force. All benevolent men who speculate on the 
amelioration of human society were regarded by Bonaparte 
as dangerous, because their maxims and principles were 
diametrically opposed to the harsh and arbitrary system 
he had adopted. He said that their hearts were better 
than their heads, and, far from wandering with them in 
abstractions, he always said that men were only to be 
governed by fear and interest. The free expression of 
opinion through the press has been always regarded by 
those who are not led away by interest or power as useful 
to society. But Bonaparte held the liberty of the press 
in the greatest horror ; and so violent was his passion 
when anything was urged in its favour that he seemed to 
labour under a nervous attack. Great man as he was, he 
was sorely afraid of little paragraphs.' 

* Joseph Bonaparte fairly enouRh remarks on this that such writings had done 
rreat harm in thniw extraordinary times {Errerir^, tome i. p. 259). Mettcrnioh, 
writing in 18*27 with distnist of the procecdlngn of Lonin XVIII., quotou, with ap- 
proval, Nnpolcon'H Hi-ntiinenU on thi» point. " Napoleon, who could not have boeii 
wanting in the feeling of jjowor. Kaid to nic, 'You hpo rao master of France; well, 
T would not undertake to govern her for three monthn with liberty of the preM.' 
J^juin.WllI., uppuniitly tiilnking himnclf wtroiiger than Napoleon, is not content 
witi» allowing th<- prcK» it» freedom, but has embodied ita liberty in the charter" 
{MetUmich, tomo iv. p. a91). 

16Ô 180Ô 



RuccGssful management of parties — Precautions — Removal from the 
Luxembourg to the Tuileries — Hackney-coaches and the Consul'» 
white horses — Royal custom and an inscription — The review — Bona- 
parte's homage to the standards — Talleyrand in Bonaparte's cabinet — 
Bonaparte's aversion to the cap of liberty even in painting — The state 
bed — Our cabinet. 

Of the three brothers to whom the 18th Brumaire gave 
birth Bonaparte speedily declared himself the eldest, and 
hastened to assume all the rights of primogeniture. He 
soon arrogated to himself the whole power. The project 
he had formed, when he favoured the revolution of the 
18th Fructidor, was now about to be realized. It was 
then an indispensable part of his plan that the Directory- 
should violate the constitution in order to justify a sub- 
sequent subversion of the Directory. The expressions 
which escaped him from time to time plainly showed that 
his ambition was not yet satisfied, and that the Consulship 
was only a state of probation preliminary to the complete 
establishment of monarchy. The Luxembourg was then 
discovered to be too small for the Chief of the Govern- 
ment, and it was resolved that Bonaparte should inhabit 
the Tuileries. Still great prudence was necessary to avoid 
the quicksands which surrounded him ! He therefore 
employed great precaution in dealing with the suscepti- 
bilities of the Republicans, taking care to inure them 
gradually to the temperature of absolute power. But this 
mode of treatment was not sufficient ; for such was Bona- 
parte's situation between the Jacobins and the Royalists 


that he could not strike a blow at one party without 
strengthening the other. He, however, contrived to solve 
this difficult problem, and weakened both parties by alter- 
nately frightening eacL "You see, Royalists," he seemed 
to say, "if you do not attach yourselves to my govern- 
ment the Jacobins will again rise and bring back the reign 
of terror and its scaffold." To the men of the Revolution 
he, on the other hand, said, " See, the counter-Revolution 
appears, threatening reprisals and vengeance. It is ready 
to overwhelm you ; my buckler can alone protect you 
from its attacks." Thus both parties were induced, from 
their mutual fear of each other, to attach themselves 
to Bonaparte ; and while they fancied they were only 
placing themselves under the protection of the Chief of 
the Government, they were making themselves dependent 
on an ambitious man, who, gradually bending them to his 
will, guided them as he chose in his political career. He 
advanced with a firm step ; but he never neglected any 
artifice to conceal, as long as possible, his designs. 

I saw Bonaparte put in motion all his concealed springs ; 
and I could not help admiring his wonderful address. 
But what most astonished me was the control he possessed 
over himself, in repressing any premature manifestation 
of his intentions which might prejudice his projects. 
Thus, for instance, he never spoke of the Tuileries but un- 
der the name of "the Palace of the Government," and he 
determined not to inhabit, at first, the ancient palace of 
the kings of France alone. He contented him.self with 
selecting the royal apartments, and proposed that the 
Third Consul should also reside in the Tuileries, and in 
consequence he occupied the Pavilion of Flora. This 
skilful arrangement was perfectly in accordance with the 
designation of " Palace of the Government " given to the 
Tuileries, and was calculated to deceive, for a time, the 
most clear-siglitod. 

The moment for leaving the Luxemboui'g having ar- 
VoL. I. -24 


rived, Bonaparte still used many deceptive precautions. 
The day fixed for the translation of the seat of govern- 
ment was the 30 ch Pluviôse, the previous day having been 
selected for publishing the account of the votes taken for 
the acceptance of the new Constitution. He had, be- 
sides, caused the insertion in the Moniteur of the eulogy 
on Washington, pronounced by M. de Fontanes, the de- 
cadi preceding, to be delayed for ten days. He thought 
that the day when he was about to take so large a step 
towards monarchy would be well chosen for entertaining 
the people of Paris with grand ideas of liberty, and for 
coupHng his own name with that of the founder of the 
free government of the United States. 

At seven o'clock on the morning of the 30th Pluviuse I 
entered, as usual, the chamber of the First Consul. He 
was in a profound sleep, and this was one of the days on 
which I had been desired to allow him to sleep a little 
longer than usual. I have often observed that General 
Bonaparte appeared much less moved when on the point 
of executing any great design than during the time of 
projecting it, so accustomed was he to think that what he 
had resolved on in his mind was already done. 

When I returned to Bonaparte he said to me, with a 
marked air of satisfaction, " Well, Bourrienne, to-night, 
at last, we shall sleep in the Tuileries. You are better off 
than I : you are not obliged to make a spectacle of your- 
self, but may go your own road there. I must, however, 
go in procession : that disgusts me ; but it is necessary to 
speak to the eyes. That has a good effect on the people. 
The Directory was too simple, and therefore never enjoyed 
any consideration. In the army simplicit}' is in its proper 
place ; but in a great city, in a palace, the Chief of the 
Government must attract attention in every possible way, 
yet still with prudence. Josephine is going to look out 
from Lcbrun's ajjartments ; go with her, if you like ; but go 
to the cabinet as soon as you see me alight from my horse." 


I did not go to the review, but proceeded to the Tuile- 
ries, to arrange in our new cabinet the papers which it 
was my duty to take care of, and to prepare everything 
for the First Consul's arrival. It was not until the even- 
ing that I learned, from the conversation in the salon^ 
where there was a numerous party, what had taken place 
in the course of the day. 

At one o'clock precisely Bonaparte left the Luxembourg. 
The procession was, doubtless, far from approaching the 
magnificent parade of the Empire : but as much pomp 
was introduced as the state of things in France permitted. 
The only real splendour of that period consisted in fine 
troops. Three thousand picked men, among whom was 
the superb regiment of the Guides, had been ordered out 
for the occasion : all marched in the greatest order, with 
music at the head of each corps. The generals and their 
staffs were on horseback, the Ministers in carriages, which 
were somewhat remarkable, as they were almost the only 
private carriages then in Paris, for hackney-coaches had 
been hired to convey the Council of State, and no trouble 
had been taken to alter them, except by pasting over the 
number a piece of paper of the same colour as the body 
of the vehicle. The Consul's carriage was drawn by six 
white horses. With the sight of those horses was associ- 
ated the recollection of days of glory and of j^eace, for 
they had been presented to the General-in-Chief of the 
army of Italy by the Emperor of Germany after the treaty 
of Campo-Formio. Bonaparte also wore the magnificent 
sabre given him by the Emperor Francis. With Camba- 
cercs on his left, and Lebrun in the front of the carriage, 
the First Consul traverscMl a part of Paris, taking the Rue 
do Tliionvillo, and the Quai Voltaire to the Pont Royal. 
Everywhere he was greeted by acclamations of joy, which 
at that time were voluntary, and needed not to bo com- 
manded by the police. 

From the wicket of the Carrousel to the gate of tho 


Tuileries the troops of the Consular Guard were formed in 
two lines, through which the procession passed — a royal 
custom, which made a singular contrast with an inscrip- 
tion in front of which Bonaparte passed on entering the 
courtyard. Two guard-houses had been built, one on the 
right and another on the left of the centre gate. On the 
one to the right were written these words : 

"The Tenth of August 1792. — eotalty in Feance 
IS abolished ; and shall nevek be re-established ! " 

It was already re-established ! 

In the meantime the troops had been drawn up in line 
in the coui*tyard. As soon as the Consul's carriage 
stopped Bonaparte immediately alighted, and mounted, 
or, to speak more properly, leaped on his horse, and re- 
viewed his troops, while the other two Consuls proceeded 
to the state apartments of the Tuileries, where the Council 
of State and the Ministers awaited them. A great many 
ladies, elegantly dressed in Greek costume, which was 
then the fashion, were seated with Madame Bonaparte at 
the windows of the Third Consul's apartments in the 
Pavilion of Flora. It is impossible to give an idea of the 
immense crowds which flowed in from all quarters. The 
windows looking to the Carrousel were let for very large 
sums ; and everywhere arose, as if from one voice, shouts 
of " Long live the First Consul ! " Who could help being 
intoxicated by so much enthusiasm ? 

Bonaparte prolonged the review for some time, passed 
down all the ranks, and addressed the commanders of 
coi'ps in terms of approbation and praise. He then took 
his station at the gate of the Tuileries, with Murat on his 
right, and Lannes on his left, and behind him a numer- 
ous staff of young warriors, whose complexions had been 
browned by the sun of Egypt and Italy, and who had 


been engaged in more battles than they numbered years. 
When the colours of the 96th, 43d, and 30th demi- 
brigades, or rather their flagstaffs, surmounted by some 
shreds, riddled by balls and blackened by powder, passed 
before him, he raised his hat and inclined his head in 
token of respect. Eveiy homage thus paid by a great 
captain to standards which had been mutilated on the 
field of battle was saluted by a thousand acclamations. 
When the troops had finished defiling before him the 
First Consul, with a firm step, ascended the staii's of the 

The General's part being finished for the day, that of 
the Chief of the State began ; and indeed it might already 
be said that the First Consul was the whole Consulate. 
At the risk of interrupting my narrative of what occurred 
on our aiTival at the Tuileries by a digression which may 
be thought out of place, I will relate a fact which had no 
little weight in hastening Bonaparte's determination to 
assume a superiority over his colleagues. It may be re- 
membered that when Roger Ducos and Siéyès bore the title 
of Consuls the three members of the Consular commission 
were equal, if not in fact at least in right. But when 
Cambacérès and Lebrun took their places, Talleyrand, 
who had at the same time been appointed to succeed M. 
Reinhart as Minister of Foreign Affairs, obtained a private 
audience of the First Consul in his cabinet, to which I 
was admitted. The observations of Talleyrand on this 
occasion were highly agreeable to Bonaparte, and they 
made too deep an impression on my mind to allow me to 
forget them. 

"Citizen Consul," said he to him, "you have confided 
to me tlie oflice of Minister for Foreign Affairs, and I will 
justify your confidence ; but I must declare to you that 
from this moment I will not transact business with any 
but yourself. Tliis detcnninution does not proceed from 
any vain pride on my p;ut, but is induced by a desire to 


serve France. In order tliat France may be well gov- 
erned, in order that there maj' be a unity of action in the 
government, you must be First Consul, and the First 
Consul must have the control over all that relates directly 
to politics ; that is to say, over the Ministry of the Inte- 
rior, and the Ministry of Police, for Internal Affairs, and 
over my department, for Foreign Affairs ; and, lastly, over 
the two great means of execution, the military and naval 
forces. It will therefore be most convenient that the 
Ministers of those live departments should transact busi- 
ness with you. The Administration of Justice and the 
ordering of the Finances are objects certainly connected 
with State politics by numerous links, which, however, 
are not of so intimate a nature as those of the other de- 
partments. If you will allow me, General, I should ad- 
vise that the control over the Administration of Justice 
be given to the Second Consul, who is well versed in ju- 
risprudence ; and to the Third Consul, who is equally well 
acquainted with Finance, the control over that depart- 
ment.^ That will occupy and amuse them, and you, Gen- 
eral, having at your disposal all the vital parts of the gov- 
ernment, will be able to reach the end you aim at, the 
regeneration of France." 

Bonaparte did not hear these remarkable words with 
indifference. They were too much in accordance with his 
own secret wishes to be listened to without pleasure ; and 
he said to me as soon as Talleyrand had taken leave, 
"Do you know, Bourrienue, I think Talleyrand gives good 
advice. Ho is a man of great understanding." — " Such is 
the opinion," I replied, " of all who know him." — " He is 
perfectly right." Afterwards he added, smiling, "Talley- 
rand is evidently a shrewd man. He has penetrated my 
designs. What he advises you know I am anxious to do. 
But again I say, ho is right ; one gets on quicker by one- 

» llc-re may bo recognised the flr.«t germ of the Arch-Chaucellorship and Ajx^ 
Ireasurership of the Empire.— iïwwrtcn;»*. 


self. Lebrun is a worthy man, but he has no policy in his 
head ; he is a book-maker. Cambacérès carries with him 
too many traditions of the Revolution. My government 
must be an entirely new one." 

Talleyrand's advice had been so punctually followed that 
even on the occasion of the installation of the Consular 
Government, while Bonaparte was receiving all the great 
civil and military officers of the State in the hall of pres- 
entation, Cambacérès and Lebrun stood by more Hke 
spectators of the scene than two colleagues of the First 
Consul. The Minister of the Interior presented the civil 
authorities of Paris ; the Minister of War, the staff of the 
17th mihtary division ; the Minister of Marine, several naval 
officers ; and the staff of the Consular Guard was presented 
by Murat. As our Consular republicans were not exactly 
Spartans, the ceremony of the presentations was followed 
by grand dinner-parties. The First Consul entertained at 
his table, the two other Consuls, the Ministers, and the 
Presidents of the great bodies of the State. Murat treated 
the heads of the army ; and the members of the Council of 
State, being again seated in their hackney-coaches with 
covered numbers, drove off to dine with Lucien. 

Before taking possession of the Tuileries we had fre- 
quently gone there to see that the repairs, or rather the 
whitewashing, which Bonaparte liad directed to be done, 
was executed. On our first visit, seeing a number of red 
caps of liberty painted on the walls, he said to INI. Le- 
corate, at that time the architect in charge, "Get rid of all 
these things ; I do not like to see such rubbish." 

The First Consul gave directions liimself for what little 
alterations he wanted in his own apartments. A state 
bed — not that of Louis XVI. — was placed in the chamber 
next liis ciibiiuit, on the soutli side, towards the grand 
staircase of the Pavilion of Flora. I may as well mention 
here that he very seldom occupiod that bod, for Bonaparte 
was very simple in his manner of living in private, and was 


not fond of state, except as a meaus of imposing on man- 
kind. At the Luxembourg, at Malmaison, and during the 
first period that he occupied the Tuileries, Bonaparte, if I 
may speak in the language of common life, alwaj's slept 
with his wife/ He went every evening down to Josephine 
by a small staircase leading from a wardrobe attached to 
Lis cabinet, and which had formerly been the chapel of 
Maria de ^Medici. I never went to Bonaparte's bedcham- 
ber but by this staircase ; and when he came to our cabinet 
it was always by the wardrobe which I have mentioned. 
The door opened opposite the only window of our room, 
and it commanded a view of the garden. 

As for our cabinet, where so many great, and also small 
events were prepared, and where I passed so many hours 
of my life, I can, even now, give the most minute descrip- 
tion of it to those who like such details.' 

There were two tables. The best, which was the First 
Consul's, stood in the middle of the room, and his arm- 

' See the conversation with Madame de Rômufiat on this subject {liêmusat, torn* 
i. p. 213). 

3 With this description may be compared that given by Bourrienne't successor, 
Meneval, of the cabinet in 1802 ; — 

" The room of which he had made his cabinet was not very large. It was lighted 
by a single window cut in a corner, and which looked out on the garden. The chief 
piece of furniture was a magnificent bureau, placed in the middle of tha room, 
ornamented with gilt bronze and supi)orted by griffins. Its top formed a sort of 
square box with a cover sliding into a recess, so that it could be phut without dis- 
turbing the papers. T!io chair was of antique shape, and ite back was covered with 
green kerseymere, the folds being tiod with silk cords. Its arms ended in griffins' 
heads. The First Consul generally only sat at his desk to sign papers. More often 
he placed hiiopelf on a sofa covered with gieen taffeta. Near this was a small tray 
which received the day's correspondence. It was only taken away to make room for 
that of the next day, and to be placed on his bureau. A screen with several leaves 
guarde<l him from the heat of thi' fire. At the back of the cabinet were two large 
bookcases, placed in tlie corners at right angles to one another, and between these 
was a large clock of the sort called regulators. A long cui)bo;ird with glass windows, 
breawt high, and with a marble base, held some papers. There was a bronze eques- 
trian statue of the King of Prussia, Frederick II. Some chairs furnished the room. 
Such, with the exception of the bureau bought at the Exhibition of the Products of 
Industry, as the masterpiece of the skilful workman Bionnais, was the modest fur- 
niture of the Consular cabinet. In it. as in everything that had to do with the 
person of Nai)oleon, was shown the bimplicity of his tastes" {Meiieval, tome i. pp. 
7S, 80). 


chair was turned with its back to the fireplace, having the 
window on the right. To the right of this again was a 
little closet where Duroc sat, through which we could 
communicate with the clerk of the office and the grand 
apartments of the Court. When the First Consul was 
seated at his table in his chair (the arms of which he so 
frequently mutilated with his penknife) he had a large 
bookcase opposite to him. A little to the right, on one 
side of the bookcase, was another door, opening into the 
cabinet which led directly to the state bedchamber which 
I have mentioned. Thence we passed into the grand Pres- 
entation Saloon, on the ceiling of which Lebrun had 
painted a likeness of Louis XTV. A tri-coloured cockade 
placed on the forehead of the great King still bore witness 
of the imbecile turpitude of the Convention. Lastly came 
the hall of the Guards, in front of the grand staircase of 
the Pavilion of Flora, 

My writing-table, which was extremely plain, stood near 
the window, and in summer I had a view of the thick 
foliage of the chestnut-trees ; but in order to see the 
proraenaders in the garden I was obliged to raise myself 
from my seat. My back was turned to the General's side, 
so that it required only a slight movement of the head to 
speak to each other. Duroc was seldom in his little cab- 
inet, and that was the place where I gave some audiences. 
The Consular cabinet, which afterwards became the Im- 
perial, has left many impressions on my mind ; and I 
hope the reader, in going through these volumes, will not 
think that they have been of too slight a description. 

378 1800. 



The Tuileries — Royalty in perspective — Remarkable observation — Pres- 
entations — Assumption of the prerogative of mercy — M. Defeu — iL 
de Frotto — Georges Cadouda,rs audience of Bonaparte — Rapp's pre- 
caution and Bonaparte's confidence — The dignity of Prance — Napper 
Tandy and Blackwell delivered up by the Senate of Hamburg — Con- 
tribution in the Egyptian style — Valueless bill — Fifteen thousand 
francs in the drawer of a secretaire — Josephine's debts — Evening 
walks with Bonaparte. 

The morning after that ardently wislied-for day on which 
we took possession of the Palace of the Kings of France I 
observed to Bonaparte on entering his chamber, " Well, 
General, you have got here without much difficulty, and 
with the applause of the people ! Do you remember what 
you said to me in the Rue St. Anne nearly two years 
ago ? " — " Ay, true enough, I recollect. You see what it is 
to have the mind set on a thing. Only two years have gone 
by! Don't you think we have not worked badly since 
that time ? Ui:)on the whole I am very well content. Yes- 
terday passed off well. Do you imagine that all those who 
came to flatter me were sincere ? No, certainly not : but 
the joy of the people was real. They know what is right. 
Besides, consult the grand thermometer of opinion, the 
price of the funds : on the 17th Brumaire at 11 francs, 
on the 20th at 16 aaad to-day at 21. In such a state of 
things I may let the Jacobins prate as they like. But let 
them not talk too loudly either ! " 

As soon as he was dressed we went to look through the 
Gallery of Diana and examine the statues which had been 
placed there by his orders. We ended our morning's 


work by taking complete possession of our new residence. 
I recollect Bonaparte saying to me, among other things, 
"To be at the Tuileries, Bourrienne, is not all. We must 
stay here. Who, in Heaven's name, has not already in- 
habited this palace ? Ruffians, conventionalists ! But 
hold ! there is your brother's house ! Was it not from 
those windows I saw the Tuileries besieged, and the good 
Louis XVI. carried off? But be assured they will not 
come here again ! " 

The Ambassadors and other foreign Ministers then in 
Paris were presented to the First Consul at a solemn 
audience. On this occasion all the ancient ceremonials 
belonging to the French Court were raked up, and in 
place of chamberlains and a gi-and master of ceremonies a 
Counsellor of State, M. Benezech, who was once Minister 
for Foreign Affairs, officiated. 

When the Ambassadors had all arrived M. Benezech 
conducted them into the cabinet, in wliich were the three 
Consuls, the Ministers, and the Council of State. The 
Ambassadors presented their credentials to the First 
Consul, who handed them to the Minister for Foreign 
Affairs. These presentations were followed by others ; 
for example, the Tribunal of Cassation, over which the 
old advocate. Target, who refused to defend Louis XVI., 
then presided. All this passed in view of the three Con- 
suls ; but the circumstance which distinguished the First 
Consul from his colleagues was, that the official person- 
ages, on leaving the audience-chamber, were conducted to 
Madame Bonaparte's apartments, in imitation of the old 
practice of waiting on the Queen after presentation to the 

' The (lutallH of this Hccne, aH doscrilxvl by CoiistAnt, arc curious: — 
"At eijjht in ttu; «'VoniiiK the ft|)iirttnfiits of .Mi\(liin\e HonnpartP, wliich wuro 
KituaUxi on the p;roun(l lloor, overlooking i\n- ^'anloHH, won- cro\vd<'<i with company, 
Tlion; waH a dazzling dinplay of Hplendid drcHwiB, fu.nthers, diamun»l«. etc. So 
numcrouH wan i\xv tliroUK that it waH found ncT-onnary to throw open Miulamo Bona- 
partc'H iK-dchambcr, the two drawing rooniK Ixdng very mnall. 

" When, after couBulerublu ciubarraHMiucnt and trouble, tho company were ar- 


Thus old customs of royalty crept by degrees into the 
lormer abodes of royalty. Amongst the rights attached 
to the Crown, and which the Constitution of the year 
\Jii. did not give to the First Consul, was one which he 
much desired to possess, and which, by the most hapjDy 
of all usurpations, he arrogated to himself.' This was the 
right of granting pardon. Bonaparte felt a real pleasure 
in saving men under the sentenceof the law; and whenever 
the imperious necessity of his policy, to which, in truth, 
he sacrificed everything, permitted it, he rejoiced in the 
exercise of mercy. It would seem as if he were thankful 
to the persons to whom he rendered such service merely 
because he had given them occasion to be thankful to 
hira. Such was the First Consul : I do not speak of the 
Emperor. Bonaparte, the First Consul, was accessible to 
the solicitations of friendship in favour of persons placed 
under proscription. The following circumstance, which 
interested me much, affords an incontestable proof of 
what I state : — 

Whilst we were still at the Luxembourg M. Defeu, a 
French emigrant, was taken in the Tyrol with arms in his 

ranged as well ag possible, Madame Bonaparte was announced, and Rhe entered, 
conducted by M. de Talleyrand. She wore a dress of white muslin, with short 
Bleevee, a pearl necklace, and her hair was simply braided, and confined by a tor- 
toieeshell comb. The buzz of admiration which greeted her on her entrance must 
have been exceedingly gratifying to her. She never, I think, looked more graceful 
or elegant. 

"M. de Talleyrand, still holding Madame Bonaparte by the hand, presented her 
to the members of the corps diplomatique, one after another, not introducing them 
by name, but designating them by the Courts they represented. He then conducted 
her round the two drawing-rooms. They had not gone above half round the second 
room when the First Consul entered without being announced. He was dressed in 
a very plain uniform coat, white cassimir pantaloons, and top-boots. Round his 
waist he wore a tri-coloured nilk scarf, with a fringe to correspond ; and he carried 
his hat in his hand. Amidst the embroidered coats, cordons, and jewels of the 
Ambassadors :ind foreign dignitaries, Bonaparte's costume ajjpearcd no less singular 
than the contrast presented by the simple elegance of Josephine's dress compared 
with the splendour of the ladies around her" (Mémoires de Constant). 

> For a previous instance of Napoleon, while simply general, taking on himself 
the right of pardon see p. 1.37. Lnnfrey says on this, " How happy and blessed 
would have been his memory if he had never broken the laws of his country except 
by similar acts " {Lanjrey, tome i. p. 365). 


hand by the troops of the Republic. He was carried to 
Grenoble, and thrown into the mihtary prison of that town. 
In the course of January General Férino, then command- 
ing at Grenoble, received orders to put the young emi- 
grant on his trial. The laws against emigrants taken in 
arms were terrible, and the judges dared not be indul- 
gent. To be tried in the morning, condemned in the 
course of the day, and shot in the evening, was the usual 
course of those implacable proceedings. One of my 
cousins, the daughter of M. Poitrincourt, came from Sens 
to Paris to inform me of the dreadful situation of M. 
Defeu. She told me that he was related to the most re- 
spectable famihes of the town of Sens, and that everybody 
felt the greatest interest in his fate. 

I had escaped for a few moments to keep the appoint- 
ment made with Mademoiselle Poitrincourt. On my re- 
turn I perceived the First Consul sui-prised at finding 
himself alone in the cabinet, which I was not in the habit 
of quitting without his knowledge. " Where have you 
been ? " said he. "I have been to see one of my relations, 
who solicits a favour of you." — "What is it? " I then in- 
formed him of the unfortunate situation of M. Defeu. His 
first answer was dreadful. " No pity ! no pity for emi- 
grants ! Whoever fights against his country is a child 
who tries to kill his mother ! " This first burst of 
anger being over, I returned to the charge. I urged the 
youth of M. Defeu, and the good effect which clemency 
would produce. " Well," said he, " write — 

*' *7/ie Fimt Consul orders the judgment on M. Defeu to he 
sus])ended.' " 

He signed this laconic order, which I instantly de- 
spatched to General Férino. I acquainted my cousin with 
what had passed, and remained at case as to the result of 
the affair. 

Scarcely had I entered the (-hamber of the First Consul 
the next morning when he said to me, "WeU, Bourrienue, 


you say nothing about your M. Defeu. Are you satisfied ? " 
— " General, I cannot find terms to express my gratitude." 
— " Ah, bah ! But I do not Hke to do things by halves. 
Write to Fcrino that I wish M. Defeu to be instantly set 
at liberty. Perhaps I am serving one who will prove un- 
grateful. "Well, so much the worse for him. As to these 
matters, Boun'ienne, always ask them from me. When I 
refuse, it is because I cannot help it." 

I despatched at my own expense an extraordinary 
courier, who arrived in time to save M. Defeu's life. His 
mother, whose only son he was, and M. Blauchet, his uncle, 
came purj^osely from Sens to Paris to express their grati- 
tude to me. I saw tears of joy fall from the eyes of a 
mother who had appeared to be destined to shed bitter 
drops, and I said to her as I felt, "that I was amply rec- 
ompensed by the success which had attended my eÔbrts." ^ 

Emboldened by this success, and by the benevolent 
language of the First Consul, I ventured to request the 
pardon of M. de Frotté, who was strongly recommended to 
me by most honourable persons. Comte Louis de Frotté 
had at first opposed all negotiation for the pacification of 
La Vendee. At length, by a series of unfortunate com- 
bats, he was, towards the end of January, reduced to the 
necessity of making himself the advances which he had 
rejected when made by others. At this period he ad- 
dressed a letter to General Guidai, in which he offered 
pacificatory proposals. A protection to enable him to 
repair to Alenyon was transmitted to him. Unfortunately 
for M. de Frotte, he did not confine himself to writing 
to General Guidai, for whilst the safe-conduct which he 
had asked was on the way to him, he WTote to his 
lieutenants, advising them not to submit or consent 
to be disarmed. This letter was intercepted. It gave 
all the appearance of a fraudulent stratagem to his 

• M. Defeu, thus pnatched from death, was afterwardB the father of three ch li- 
erai, and lived for miuiy years in tranquillity at Sens. — Bovrriennt, 


proposai to treat for peace. Besides, tins opinion ap- 
peared to be confirmed by a manifesto of M. de Frotte, 
anterior, it is true, to the offers of pacification, but in 
■which he aimounced to all his partisans the approaching 
end of Bonaparte's " criminal enterprise." 

I had more trouble than in M. t)efeu's case to induce 
the First Consul to exercise his clemency. However, I 
pressed him so much, I laboured so hard to convince him 
of the happy effect of such indulgence, that at length I 
obtained an order to suspend the judgment. What a les- 
son I then experienced of the evil which may result from 
the loss of time ! Not supposing that matters were so far 
advanced as they were, I did not immediately send ofi 
the courier with the order for the suspension of the judg- 
ment. Besides, the Minister of Police had marked his 
victim, and he never lost time when evil was to be done. 
Having, therefore, I know not for what motive, resolved on 
the destruction of M. dc Frotte, he sent an order to hasten 
his trial. 

Comte Louis de Frotté was brought to trial on the 28th 
Pluviôse, condemned the same day, and executed the next 
morning, the day before we entered the Tuileries. The 
cruel precipitation of the Minister rendered the result of 
my solicitations abortive. I had reason to think that after 
the day on wliich the First Consul granted me the order 
for delay he had received some new accusation against M. 
de Frotté, for when he heard of his death he appeared to 
me very indifferent about the tardy arrival of the order 
for suspending judgment. He merely said to me, with 
unusual inscMisibility, " You should take your measures 
better. You see it is not my fault." 

Though Bonapart(; put no faith in the virtue of men, he 
had confid(;n(;e in tlnur honour. I had proof of this in a 
matter which deserves to be recorded in history. AVlien, 
during the first period of our al)odo at the Tuileries, he 
hud summoned the principal chiefs of La Vendée to en- 


deavour to bring about the pacification of that unhappy 
country, he received Georges Cadoudal in a private audi- 
ence. The disposition in which I beheld him the evening 
before the day appointed for this audience inspired me 
with the most flattering hopes. Eapp introduced Georges 
into the grand salon looking into the garden. Eapp left 
him alone with the First Consul, but on returning to the 
cabinet where I was he did not close either of the two 
doors of the state bedchamber which separated the cabinet 
from the salon. "We saw the First Consul and Georges 
walk from the window to the bottom of the salon — then re- 
turn — then go back again. This lasted for a long time. 
The conversation appeared very animated, and we heard sev- 
eral things, but without any connection. There was occa- 
sionally a good deal of ill-humour displayed in their tone 
and gestures. The interview ended in nothing. The First 
Consul, perceiving that Georges entertained some appre- 
hensions for his personal safety, gave him assurances of 
security in the most noble manner, saying, "You take a 
wrong view of things, and are wrong in not coming to 
some understanding ; but if you persist in wishing to re- 
turn to your country you shall depart as freely as you 
came to Paris." When Bonaparte returned to his cabinet 
he said to Eapp, "Tell me, Eapp, why you left these doors 
open, and stopped wdth Bourrienne?" Eapp replied, "If 
you had closed the doors I would have opened them again. 
Do you think I would have left you alone with a man like 
that? There would have been danger in it." — "No, 
Eapp," said Bonaparte, "you caunot think so." When 
we were alone the First Consul appeared pleased with 
Eapp's attachment, but very vexed at Georges' refusal. 
He said, " He does not take a correct view of things ; but 
the extravagance of his principles has its source in noble 
sentiments, which must give him great influence over his 
countrymen. It is necessary, however, to bring this busi- 
ness soon to an end." 


Of all the actions of Louis XTV., that which Bonaparte 
most admired was his having made the Doge of Genoa send 
ambassadors to Paris to apologise to him. The sHghtest 
insult offered in a foreign country to the rights and dig- 
nity of France put Napoleon beside himself. This anxiety 
to have the French Government respected exhibited itself 
in an affair which made much noise at the period, but 
which was amicably arranged by the soothing influence of 

Two Irishmen, Napper Tandy and Blackwell, who had 
been educated in France, and whose names and rank as 
officers appeared in the French army list, had retired to 
Hamburg. The British Government claimed them as 
traitors to their country, and they were given up ; ' but, 
as the French Government held them to be subjects of 
France, the transaction gave rise to bitter complaints 
against the Senate of Hamburg. 

Blackwell had been one of the leaders of the united 
Irishmen. He had procured his naturalisation in France, 
and had attained the rank of chef (Tescadron. Being sent 
on a secret mission to Norway, the ship in which he was 
embai'ked was wrecked on the coast of that kingdom. He 
then repaired to Hamburg, where the Senate phiced him 
under arrest on the demand of Mr. Crawford, the English 
Minister. After being detained in prison a whole year he 
was conveyed to England to be tried. The French Gov- 
ernment interfered, and preserved, if not his liberty, at 
least his life. 

Nupi)cr Tandy was also an Irishman. To escape the 
search made after him, on account of the sentiments of 
independence which had induced him to engage in the 
contest for the liberty of liis country, lie got on board a 
French brig, intending to land at Hamburg and pass int« 
Sweden. Being exempted from the amnesty by the Irish 

' Th(.> KtinBiKii and Auihrl&n GoTernmAatn Moonded the dciuand of lagland tin 
their surrender. 

Vol. J.— 2G 


Parliament, he was claimed by the British Government, 
and the Senators of Hamburg forgot honour and humanity 
in their alarm at the danger which at that moment men- 
aced their little republic both from England and France. 
The Senate delivered up Napper Tandy ; he was carried to 
Ireland, and condemned to death, but owed the suspension 
of his execution to the interference of France. He re- 
mained two years in prison, when M. Otto, who negotiated 
with Lord Hawkesbury the preliminaries of peace, obtained 
the release of Napper Tandy, who was sent back to 

The First Consul spoke at first of signal vengeance ; but 
the Senate of Hamburg sent him a memorial, justificatory 
of its conduct, and backed the apology with a sum of four 
millions and a half, which mollified him considerably.' 
This was in some sort a recollection of Egypt — one of 
those little contributions with which the General had 
famiharised the pashas ; with this difference, that on the 
present occasion not a single sous went into the national 
treasury. The sum was paid to the First Consul through 
the hands of M. Chapeau Rouge. 

I kept the four millions and a half in Dutch bonds in a 
secretaire for a week. Bonaparte then determined to dis- 
tribute them ; after paying Josephine's debts, and the 
whole of the great expenses incurred at Malmaison, he 
dictated to me a list of persons to whom he wished to 
make presents. My name did not escape his lips, and 
consequently I had not the trouble to transcribe it ; but 
some time after he said to me, with the most engaging 
kindness, "Bourrienne, I have given you none of the 
money which came from Hamburg, but I will make you 
amends for it." He took from his drawer a large and 
broad sheet of printed paper, with blanks filled up in his 

' A solemn deputation from the Senate arrived at the Tuileries to make public 
apologies to Napoleon. He again testifle»! his indignation : and when the envoys 
mrged their weakness he said to them. "Well! and had you not the resource oi 
weak states '( was it not in your power to let theui escape ? " {JVapoleon'a Memoirs). 

1800. A VALUELESS BILL. 387 

own handwriting, and said to me, *'Here is a bill for 
300,000 Italian livres on the Cisalpine Republic, for the 
price of cannon furnished. It is endorsed Haller and 
Collot — I give it you." To make this understood, I 
ought to state that cannon had been sold to the Cisalpine 
Republic, for the value of which the Administrator- 
general of the Italian finances drew on the Republic, and 
the bills were paid over to M. Collot, a provision con- 
tractor, and other persons. M. Collot had given one of 
these bills for 300,000 livres to Bonaparte in quittance of 
a debt, but the latter had allowed the bill to run out with- 
out troubling himself about it. The Cisalpine Republic 
kept the cannons and the money, and the First Consul kept 
his bill. When I had examined it I said, " General, it has 
been due for a long time ; why have you not got it paid ? 
The endorsers are no longer liable." — ''France is bound 
to discharge debts of this kind," said he ; " send the paper 
to de Ferment : he will discount it for three per cent. 
You will not have in ready money more than about 9000 
francs of rentes, because the Italian livre is not equal to 
the franc." I thanked him, and sent the bill to M. de 
Fer mont. He replied that the claim was bad, and that 
the bill would not be liquidated because it did not come 
within the classifications made by the laws passed in the 
months the names of which terminated in aire, osc^ al, and 

I showed M. de Ferraont's answer to the First Consul, 
who said, " Ah, bah ! He understands nothing about it — 
he is wrong : write." He then dictated a letter, which 
promised very favourably for the discounting of the bill ; 
})ut the answer was a fresli refusal. I said, *' General, M. 
de Fermont does not attend to you anymore than to myself." 
Bonaparte took the letter, read it, and said, in the tone of 
a man who knew beforeliand what he was about to bo in- 
formed of, " Well, what the devil would you have me do, 
aiuce the laws are opposed to it ? roraovorc ; follow tL« 


usual modes of liquidation, and something will come of 
it ! " What finally happened was, that by a regular decree 
this bill was cancelled, torn, and deposited in the archives. 
These 300,000 livres formed part of the money which 
Bonaparte brought from Italy. If the bill was useless to 
me it was also useless to him. This scrap of paper 
merely proves that he brought more than 25,000 francs 
from Italy. 

I never had, from the General-in-Chief of the army of 
Italy, nor from the General in-Chief of the army of Egypt, 
nor from the First Consul for ten years, nor from the 
Consul for life, any fixed salary. I took from his drawer 
what was necessary for my expenses as well as his own. 
He never asked me for any account. After the transaction 
of the bill on the insolvent Cisalpine Republic he said to 
me, at the beginning of the wdnter of 1800, " Bourrienne, 
the weather is becoming very bad ; I will go but seldom to 
Malmaison. AMiilst I am at council get my papers and 
little articles from ^ilalmaison ; here is the key of my 
secrétaire, take out everything that is there." I got into 
the carriage at two o'clock and returned at six. When he 
had dined I placed upon the table of his cabinet the various 
articles which I had found in his secrétaire including 15,000 
francs (somewhere about £G00 of English money) in bank- 
notes which were in the corner of a little draw^er. When 
he looked at them he said, "Here is money — what is the 
meaning of this ? " I replied, "I know nothing aboutit, 
except that it was in your secrétaire." " Oh yes ; I had 
forgotten it. It was for my trifling expenses. Here, take 
it." I remembered well that one summer morning he had 
given me his key to bring him two notes of 1000 francs for 
some incidental expense, but I had no idea that he had 
not drawn further on his little treasure. 

I have stated the appropriation of the four millions and 
a half, the result of the extortion inflicted on the Senate 
of Hamburg, in the affaii* of Napper Tandy and Blackwell 


The whole, however, was not disposed of in presents. A 
considerable portion was reserved for paying Josephine's 
debts, and this business appears to me to deserve some 

The estate of Malmaison had cost 160,000 francs. Jose- 
phine had purchased it of M. Lecouteulx while we were in 
Egypt. Many embellishments, and some new buildings, 
had been made there ; and a park had been added, which 
had now become beautiful. All this could not be done 
for nothing, and besides, it was very necessaiy tbà-t- what 
was due for the original purchase should be entirely dis- 
charged ; and this considerable item was not the only debt 
of Josephine. The creditors murmured, which had a bad 
effect in Paris ; and I confess I was so well convinced that 
the First Consul would be extremely displeased that I 
constantly delayed the moment of speaking to him on the 
subject. It was therefore with extreme satisfaction I 
learned that M. de Talleyrand had anticipated me. No 
person was more capable than himself of gilding the pill, 
as one may say, for Bonaparte. Endowed with as much 
independence of character as of mind, he did him the 
service, at the risk of offending him, to tell him that a 
great number of creditors expressed their discontent in 
bitter complaints respecting the debts contracted by 
Madame Bonaparte during his expedition to the East. 
Bonaparte felt that his situation required him promptly to 
remove the cause of such complaints. It was one night 
about half-past eleven o'clock that M. Talleyrand intro- 
duced this delicate subject. As soon as he was gone I 
entered the little cabinet ; Bonaparte said to mo, "■ Bour- 
rienne, Talleyrand has been speaking to mo al)()ut the 
debts of my wife. I have tho money from Hamburg — 
ask hor tlie exact amount of her debts : let her confess all. 
I wish to fhiish, and not begin again. But do not pay 
without showing me the bills of those rascals : they are u 
gang of robbers." 


Hitherto the apprehension of an unpleasant scene, the 
very idea of which made Josephine tremble, had always 
prevented me from broaching this subject to the First 
Consul ; but, well pleased that Talleyrand had first touched 
upon it, I resolved to do all in my power to put an end to 
the disagreeable affair. 

The next morning I saw Josephine. She was at first 
delighted with her husband's intentions ; but this feeling 
did not last long. When I asked her for an exact account 
of what she owed she entreated me not to press it, but 
content myself with what she should confess. I said to 
her, "Madame, I cannot deceive you respecting the dis- 
position of the First Consul. He believes that you owe a 
considerable sum, and is willing to discharge it. You will, 
I doubt not, have to endure some bitter reproaches, and 
a violent scene ; but the scene will be just the same for the 
whole as for a part. If you conceal a large proportion of 
your debts at the end of some time murmurs wiU recom- 
mence, they will reach the ears of the First Consul, and 
his anger will display itself still more strikingly. Trust to 
me — state all ; the result will be the same ; you will hear 
but once the disagreeable things he will say to you ; by 
reservations you will renew them incessantly."' Josephine 
said, "I can never tell all; it is impossible. Do me the 
service to keep secret what I say to you. I owe, I believe, 
about 1,200,000 francs, but I wish to confess only 000,000 : 
I will contract no more debts, and will pay the rest little 
by little out of my savings." — " Here, Madame, my first 
observations recur. As I do not believe he estimates your 
debts at so high a sum as 600,000 francs, I can warrant 
that you will not experience more displeasure for ac- 
knowledging to 1,200,000 than to 600,000 ; and by going so 
far you will get rid of them for ever." — "I can never do it, 
Bourrienne ; I know him ; I can never support his violence.** 
After a quarter of an hour's further discussion on the sub- 
ject I was obliged to yield to her earnest soHcitation, and 


promise to mention only the 600,000 francs to the First 

The anger and ill-humour of Bonaparte may be 
imagined. He strongly suspected that his wife was dis- 
sembling in some respect ; but he said, " Well, take 600,- 
000 francs, but liquidate the debts for that sum, and let 
me hear nothing more on the subject. I authorise you to 
threaten these tradesmen with paying nothing if they do 
not reduce their enormous charges. They ought to be 
taught not to be so ready in giving credit." Madame 
Bonaparte gave me all her bills. The extent to which the 
articles had been overcharged, owing to the fear of not 
being paid for a long period, and of deductions being 
made from the amount, was inconceivable. It appeared 
to me, also, that there must be some exaggeration in the 
number of articles supplied. I observed in the milliner's 
bill thirty-eight new hats, of great price, in one month. 
There was likewise a charge of 1800 francs for heron 
plumes, and 800 francs for perfumes. I asked Josephine 
whether she wore out two hats in one day ? She objected 
to this charge for the hats, which she merely called a mis- 
take. The impositions which the saddler attempted, both 
in the extravagance of his prices and in charging for 
articles which he had not furnished, were astonishing. I 
need say nothing of the other tradesmen, — it was the 
same system of plunder throughout. 

I availed myself fully of the First Consul's permission, 
and spared neither reproaches nor menaces. I am 
aHhfimed to say that the greater part of the tradesmen 
were contented with the half of what tliey demanded. One 
of them received 35,000 francs for a bill of 80,000 ; and 
he had the impudence to toll me that he made a good pro- 
fit nevertheUiss. Fiually, I was fortunate enough, wiUn' the 
most veh(?ni(mt disputes, to Kettle everything for 600,000 
francs. Madame Bonaparte, however, soon fell again into 
the same cxcesseH, but fortunately money became mor« 


plentiful. This inconceivable mania of spending money 
was almost the sole cause of her unhappiness. Her 
thoughtless profusion occasioned permanent disorder in 
her household until the period of Bonaparte's second 
man'iage, -when, I am informed, she became regular in 
her expenditure. I could not say so of her when she was 
Empress in 1804.' 

The amiable Josephine had not less ambition in little 
things than her husband had in great. She felt pleasure 
in acquiring and not in possessing. Who would suppose 
it ? She grew tired of the beauty of the park of Mal- 
maison, and was always asking me to take her out on the 
higli road, either in the direction of Nan terre, or on that 
of Marly, in the midst of the dust occasioned by the pass- 
ing of carriages. The noise of the high road appeared 
to her preferable to the calm silence of the beautiful 
avenues of the park, and in this respect Hortense had the 
same taste as her mother. This whimsical fancy astonished 
Bonaparte, and he was sometimes vexed at it. M}^ inter- 
course with Josephine was delightful, for I never saw a 
woman who so constantly entered society with such an 
equable disposition, or with so much of the spirit of kind- 
ness, which is the first principle of amiability. She was 
so obligingly attentive as to cause a pretty suite of apart- 
ments to be prepared at Malmaison for me and my family. 

' Notwithstandinp her husbnnd's wish, slie could never bring her cRtablishment 
into any order or rule. lie \sibhed that no tnidcsnien should ever reach her, but 
he was forced to yield on this point. The small inner rooms were filled with them, 
as with artists of all sorts. She had a mania for having herself painted, and gave 
her portraits to whoever wished for one, — relations, femmes de cliambre, e\en to 
tradesmen. They never ceased bringing her diamonds, jewels, shawls, materiais 
for dresses, and trinkets of all kinds; she bought everything v\ithout ever asking the 
price; and generally forgot what she h:id purchased. . . All the morning she had 
on ii shawl which she <irai)ed on her shoiildcrs with a grace I have seen in no one 
else. Bonaparte, who thought her shawls covered her too nuich, tore them off, and 
sometimes threw them into the fire ; then she sent for another {R^musal, tome ii. pp. 
843-345). After the divorce her income, large as it was. was insufficient, but the Em- 
peror was more compassionate then, and when sending the Comt^ Mollien to settle 
her affairs gave him strict orders " not to viakc lier weep '* {Meiieval, tome ill. p» 


She pressed me earnestl}^ and with all her known grace, 
to accept it ; but almost as much a captive at Paris as a 
prisoner of state, I wished to have to myself in the coun- 
try the moments of liberty I was permitted to enjoy. Yet 
what was this Uberty ? I had bought a little house at 
Euel, which I kept during two years and a half. When I 
saw my friends there, it had to be at midnight, or at five 
o'clock in the morning ; and the First Consul would often 
send for me in the night when couriers arrived. It was 
for this sort of liberty I refused Josephine's kind cffer. 
Bonaparte came once to see me in my retreat at Ruel, but 
Josephine and Hortense came often. It was a favourite 
walk with these ladies. 

At Paris I was less frequently absent from Bonaparte 
than at Malmaison. We sometimes in the evening walked 
together in the garden of the Tuileries after the gates were 
closed. In these evening walks he always wore a gray 
greatcoat, and a round hat I was directed to answer, 
''The First Consul," to the sentinel's challenge of, " Who 
goes there?" These promenades, which were of much 
benefit to Bonaparte, and me also, as a relaxation from our 
labours, resembled those which we had at Malmaison. As 
to our promenades in the city, they were often veiy 

At the period of our first inhabiting the Tuileries, when 
I saw Bonaparte enter the cabinet at eight o'clock in the 
evening in his gray coat, I knew he would say, " Bour- 
rienne, come and take a turn." Sometimes, then, instead 
of going out by the garden arcade, wo would take the 
little gate which leads from the court to the apartments of 
the Due d'Angoulôme. He would take my arm, and we 
would go to buy articles of trifling value in the shops of 
the Rue St. Honon' ; but we did not extend our excursions 
farth(îr than Kue do l'Arbre Sec. Whilst I made the shop- 
keeper exhibit before us the articles which I appeared 
anxioua to buy he played his part in asking questions. 


Nothing was more amusing than to see him endeavouring 
to imitate the careless and jocular tone of the young men 
of fashion. How awkward was he in the attempt to put 
on dandy au's when pulling up the corners of his cravat 
he would say, "Well, Madame, is there anything new 
to-day? Citizen, what say they of Bonaparte? Your 
shop appears to be well suj^plied. You surely have a great 
deal of custom. What do people say of that buffoon, 
Bonaparte?" He was made quite happy one day when 
we were obliged to retire hastily from a shop to avoid the 
attacks drawn upon us by the irreverent tone in which 
Bonaparte spoke of the First Consul. 

1800. 395 



War and monnments— Influence of the recollections of Egypt — First 
improvements in Pans — Malmaison too little — St. Cloud taken — The 
Pont des Arts — Business prescribed for me by Bonaparte — Pecuniary 
remuneration — The First Consul's visit to the Pritanée — His exami- 
nation of the pupils — Consular pensions — Tragical death of Miack- 
zinski — Introduction of vaccination — Recall of the members of the 
Constituent Assembly — The " canary " volunteers — Tronchet and 
Target — Liberation of the Austrian prisoners — Longchamps and 
sacred music — Annex. 

The destruction of men and the construction of monu- 
ments were two things perfectly in unison in the mind 
of Bonaparte. It may be said that his passion for monu- 
ments amlost equalled his passion for war ; ' but as in all 
things he disliked what was little and mean, so he liked vast 
constructions and great battles. The sight of the colossal 
ruins of the monuments of Egypt had not a little contrib- 
uted to augment his natural taste for great structures. 
It was not so much the monuments themselves that he 
admired, but the historical recollections they perpetuate, 
tlie great names they consecrate, tlie important events 
they attest. What should lie have cared for the column 
which we beheld on our arrival in Alexandria had it not 
beeu Pompey's pillar ? It is for artists to admire or cen- 

' Take plciiHure, if yon <an, in n-ndinp your returns. The ro<h1 condition of uiy 
iirmicH iH imiuK ti> iny drvotini; to Ukmii one or two hourn in every day. Wticn the 
nioiithiy rcluniH of my Hrnili-H uiid of my rioctK, lofUrh form twenly thick voluvxra, 
urc «eut U» me, 1 «ive up every otiier occupation In order to rend them in dc-Uiil mid 
to obHervo the differenc» between one monthly return and another. No younif giii 
cnjoyH her novel ao much as 1 do thebo reluruB I (Napoltun to Jvatpli^ '■JSiih Au- 
fUHt 1BU6.— Z^u CasHM, tome lii. p. 1 1&). 


Bure its proportions and ornaments, for men of learning 
to explain its inscriptions ; but the name of Pompey ren- 
ders it an object of interest to all. 

"When endeavouring to sketch the chai'acter of Bona- 
parte I ought to have noticed his taste for monuments, 
for without this characteristic trait something essential is 
wanting to the completion of the portrait. This taste, or, 
as it may more properly be called, this passion for monu- 
ments, exercised no small influence on his thoughts and 
projects of glory ; yet it did not deter him from directing 
attention to public improvements of a less ostentatious 
kind. He wished for great monuments to pei-petuate the 
recollection of his glory ; but at the same time he knew 
how to appreciate all that was truly useful. He could 
very rarely be reproached for rejecting any plan without 
examination ; and this examination was a speedy affair, 
for his natural tact enabled him immediately to see things 
in their proper light. 

Though most of the monuments and embellishments 
of Paris are executed from the plans of men of talent, yet 
some owe their origin to circumstances merely accidental. 
Of this I can mention an example. 

I was standing at the window of Bonaparte's cabinet, 
which looked into the garden of the Tuileries. He had 
gone out, and I took advantage of his absence to rise from 
my chair, for I was tired of sitting. He had scarceh' been 
gone a minute when he unexpectedly returned to ask me 
for a paper. " "UHiat are 3'ou doing there, Bourrienne ? 
I'll wager anything you are admiring the ladies walking 
on the terrace." — "Why, I must confess I do sometimes 
amuse myself in that way," replied I ; "but I assure yon, 
General, I was now thinking of something else. I was 
looking at that villainous left bank of the Seine, which 
always annoys me with the gaps in its dirty qua}', and the 
floodings which almost every winter prevent communica- 
tion with the Fauboui'g St. Germain, and I was thinking 


I would speak to you on the subject." He approached 
the window, and, looking out, said, "You are right, it is 
very ugly ; and very offensive to see dirty linen washed 
before our windows. Here, write immediately : ' The quay 
of the École de Natation is to be finished during next 
campaign.' Send that order to the Minister of the Inte- 
rior." The quay was finished the year following. 

As an instance of the enormous difference which fre- 
quently appears between the onginal estimates of archi- 
tects and their subsequent accounts I may mention what 
occurred in relation to the Palace of St. Cloud. But I 
must first say a word about the manner in which Bona- 
parte originally refused and afterwards took possession of 
the Queen's pleasure-house. Malmaison was a suitable 
country residence for Bonaparte as long as he remained 
content with his town apartments in the little Luxem- 
bourg ; but that Consular bagatelle was too confined in 
comparison with the spacious apartments in the Tuileries. 
The inhabitants of St. Cloud, well-advised, addressed a 
petition to the Legislative Body, praying that their de- 
serted chateau might be made the summer residence of the 
First Consul. The petition was referred to the Govern- 
ment ; but Bonaparte, w^ho was not yet Consul for life, 
proudly declared that so long as he was at the head of 
affairs, and, indeed, for a year afterwards, he would accept 
no national recompense. Some time after we went to visit 
the palace of the 18th Brumaire. Bonaparte liked it ex- 
ceedingly', but all was in a state of complete dilapidation. 
It bore evident marks of the Kevolution. The First Con- 
sul did not wish, as yet, to burden the budget of the State 
witli his personal expenses, and ho was alarmed at the 
enormous sum required to render St. Cloud habitable. 
Flattery had not yet arrived at the degree of proficiency 
which it subsequently attained ; but even then his flatter- 
ers boldly assur(!d him ho might take possession of St. 
Cloud for 25,000 franca. I told the First Consul that, 


considering the ruinous state of the place, I could venture 
to say that the expense would amount to more than 
1,200,000 francs. Bonaparte determined to have a regular 
estimate of the expense, and it amounted to nearly 
3,000,000. He thought it a great sum ; but as he had re- 
solved to make St. Cloud his residence he gave orders for 
commencing the repairs, the expense of which, indepen- 
dently of the furniture, amounted to 6,000,000. So much 
for the 3,000,000 of the architect and the 25,000 francs of 
the flatterers. 

When the First Consul contemplated the building of 
the Pont des Arts we had a long conversation on the sub- 
ject. I observed that it would be much better to build 
the bridge of stone. " The first object of monuments of 
this kind," said I, "is public utility. They require solid- 
ity of appearance, and their principal merit is duration. 
I cannot conceive. General, why, in a country where there 
is abundance of fine stone of every quality, the use of iron 
should be preferred." — "Write," said Bonaparte, "to 
Fontaine and Percier, the architects, and ask what they 
think of it." I wrote and they stated in their answer that 
•' bridges were intended for public utility and the em- 
bellishment of cities. The projected bridge between the 
Lou\Te and the Quatre-Nations would unquestionably ful- 
fil the first of these objects, as was proved by the great 
number of persons who daily crossed the Seine at that 
point in boats ; that the site fixed upon between the Pont 
Neuf and the Tuileries appeared to be the best that could 
be chosen for the purpose ; and that on the score of orna- 
ment Paris would gain little by the construction of an 
iron bridge, which would be very narrow, and which, from 
its light form, would not correspond with the grandeur of 
the two bridges between which it would be placed." 

When we had received the answer of MM. Percier and 
Fontaine, we again had a conversation on the subject of 
the bridge. I told the First Consul that I perfectly con- 


curred in the opinion of MM. Fontaine and Percier ; how- 
ever, he would have his own way, and thus was authorised 
the construction of the toy which formed a communication 
between the Louvre and the Institute. But no sooner 
was the Pont des Arts finished than Bonaparte pronounced 
it to be mean and out of keeping with the other bridges 
above and below it. One day when visiting the Louvre 
he stopped at one of the windows looking towards the 
Pont des Arts and said, "There is no solidity, no grandeur 
about that bridge. In England, where stone is scarce, it 
is very natural that iron should be used for arches of large 
dimensions. But the case is different in France, where 
the requisite material is abundant." 

The infernal machine of the 3d Nivôse, of which I shall 
presently speak more at length, was the signal for vast 
changes in the quarter of the Tuileries. That horrible 
attempt was at least so far attended by happy results that 
it contributed to the embellishment of Paris. It was 
thought more advisable for the Government to buy and 
pull down the houses which had been injured by the 
machine than to let them be put under repair. As an ex- 
ample of Bonaparte's grand schemes in building I may 
mention that, being one day at the Louvre, he pointed 
towards St. Germain I'Auxerrois and said to me, " That is 
where I will build an imperial street. It shall run from 
here to the Barrière du Trône. It shall be a hundred 
feet broad, and have arcades and plantations. This street 
shall be the finest in the world." 

The palace of the King of Home, which was to face the 
Pont de Jena and the Champ do Mars, would have been 
in some measure isolated from Paris, with which, how- 
ever, it was to be connected by a line of palaces. These 
were to extend along the quay, and were destined as 
splendid residences for the Ambassadors of foreign sover- 
eigns, at least as long as there should be any sovereigns 
in Europe except Napoleon. The Temple of Glory, too, 


whicli was to occupy' the site of the Church of la Made- 
leine, Tvas never finished. If the plan of this monument 
proved the necessity which Bonaparte felt of constantly 
holding out stimulants to his soldiers, its relinquishment 
was at least a proof of his wisdom. He who had re- 
established religious worship in France, and had restored 
to its destination the church of the Invalides, which was 
for a time metamorphosed into the Temple of Mars, fore- 
saw that a Temple of Glory would give birth to a sort of 
paganism incompatible with the ideas of the age. 

The recollection of the magnificent Necropolis of Cairo 
frequently recurred to Bonaparte's mind. He had ad- 
mired that city of the dead, which he had partly contrib- 
uted to people ; and his design was to make, at the four 
cardinal points of Paris, four vast cemeteries on the plan of 
that at Cairo. 

Bonaparte determined that all the new streets of Paris 
should be 40 feet wide, and be provided with foot-pave- 
ments ; in short, he thought nothing too grand for the 
embellishment of the capital of a country which he wished 
to make the first in the world. Next to war, he regarded 
the embellishment of Paris as the source of his gloi-y ; and 
he never considered a victory fully achieved until he had 
raised a monument to transmit its memory to posterity. 
He wanted glory, uninterrupted glory, for France as well 
as for himself. How often, when talking over his schemes, 
has he not said, "^'Bourrienne, it is for France I am doing 
all this ! All I wish, all I desire, the end of all my labours 
is, that my name should be iudissolubly connected with 
that of France ! " 

Paris is not the only cit}', nor is France the only king- 
dom, which bears traces of Napoleon's passion for great 
and useful monuments. In Belgium, in Holland, in Pied- 
mont, in all Italy, he executed great improvements. At 
Turin a splendid bridge was built over the Po, iu lieu of 
an old bridge which was falling in ruins. 


How many things were undertaken and executed in 
Napoleon's short and eventful reign ! To obviate the dif- 
ficulty of communication between Metz and Mayence a 
magnificent road was made, as if by magic, across imprac- 
ticable marshes and vast forests : mountains were cut 
through and ravines filled up. He would not allow nature 
more than man to resist him. One day when he was pro- 
ceeding to Belgium by the way of Givet, he was detained 
for a short time at Little Givet, on the right bank of the 
Meuse, in consequence of an accident which happened to 
the ferry-buat. He was within a gunshot of the fortress 
of Charlemont, on the left bank, and in the vexation which 
the delay occasioned he dictated the following decree : *' A 
bridge shall be built over the Meuse to join Little Givet 
to Great Givet. It shall be terminated during the ensuing 
campaign." It was completed within the prescribed time. 

In the great work of bridges and highways Bonaparte's 
chief object was to remove the obstacles and barriers which 
nature had raised up as the limits of old France so as to 
form a junction with the provinces which he successively 
annexed to the Empire. Thus in Savoy a road, smooth 
as a garden-walk, superseded the dangerous ascents and 
descents of the wood of Bramant ; thus was the passage 
of Mont Ccnis a pleasant promenade at almost every 
season of the year ; thus did the Simplon bow his head, 
and Bonaparte might have said, "There are now no Alps," 
with more reason than Louis XIY. said, "There are now 
no Pyrenees." * 

Such was the implicit confidence which Bonaparte re- 
posed in me that I was often alarmed at the responsibility 
it obliged mo to incur.' Official business was not the only 

' Mottcrnlch (torno iv. p. 187) «ayH on tliis HubjccL, '• If you look closoly i\t Iho 
conrvf) f)f hurrmii nfTniiH you will mnkf Rimngn dlwîovoricH. Kor iiitmicc, th»t tho 
Himpiori Paw» ha« conlributfxl rh Hiiroly to Napoleon > immorlality ah tho ntimor- 
ou« workkdone in tho rclKn of tho Kint>cn)r Frunci* will fail to ndd to hiH." 

» Of thl« confldenro the following liiHtructlonn for me, which ho dlrtntod to Duroc, 
•fTord Hufflcient pnK>f : — 

" iHt. Citizen Uonrrlcuno ahull oi>cu all the lottor» ftddreubcd to tho Firet ConMil, 

Vol. I. -20 


labour that devolved upon me. I had io write to the dio« 
tation of the First Consul during a great part of the day, 
or to decipher his writing, which was always the most 
laborious part of my duty.' I was so closely employed 
that I scarcely ever went out ; and when by chance I dined 
in town, I could not arrive until the very moment of din- 
ner, and I was obliged to run away immediately after it. 
Once a month, at most, I went without Bonaparte to the 
Comédie Française, but I was obliged to return at nine 
o'clock, that being the hour at which we resumed business. 
Corvisart, with whom I was intimately acquainted, con- 
stantly expressed his apprehensions about my health ; but 
my zeal carried me through every difficulty, and during 
our stay at the Tuileries I cannot express how happy I was 
in enjoying the unreserved confidence of the man on whom 
the eyes of all Europe were fixed. So perfect was this 

and present them to him three times a day, or oftener in case of urgent business. 
The letters shall be deposited in the cabinet when they are opened. Bourrienne is to 
analyse all those which are of secondary interest, and write the First Consul's deci- 
sioD on each letter. The hours for presenting the letters shall be, first, when the 
Consul rises; second, a quarter of an hour before dinner ; and third, at eleven at 

•' 2d. He is to have the superintendence of the Topographical olBce, and of an 
office of Translation, in which there shall bo a German and an English clerk. 
Every day he shall present to the First Consul, at the hours above mentioned, the 
German and English journals, together with a translation. With respect to the Ital- 
ian journals, it will only be necessary to mark what the First Consul is to read. 

"yd. He shall keep a register of appointments to offices under Government ; a 
second, for appointments to judicial posts; a third, for appointments to places 
abroad ; and a fourth, for the situations of receivers and great financial posts, whero 
he is to inscribe the names of all the individuals whom the First Consul may refer to 
him. These registers must be written by his own hand, and must be kept entirely 

"4th. Secret correspondence, and the different reports of surveillance, are to be 
addressed directly to Bourrienne, and transmitted by him to the hand of the First 
Consul, by wh(jni they will be returned without the intervention of any third party. 

" 5th. There shall be a register for all that relates to secret extraordinary expen- 
ditura. Bourrienne shall write the whole with his own hand, in order that the busi- 
ness may be kept from the knowledge of any one. 

"0th. He shall despatch all the business which maybe referred to him, either 
from Citizen Duroc, or from the cabinet of the First Consul, taking care to arrange 
eTerything so as to securo 8e<;recy. 

(Signed) " BoNAPAnxK, First Consul. 

"Paris, 13th Germinal, year VIII. 
"(3d. April 1800.)" 

A Am Aiiutix tu tlLis Chapter. 


confidence that Bonaparte, neither as General, Consul, nor 
Emperor, ever gave me any fixed salary. In money mat- 
ters we were still comrades : I took from his funds what 
was necessary to defray my expenses, and of this Bona- 
parte never once asked me for any account. 

He often mentioned his wish to regenerate public edu- 
cation, which he thought was ill managed. The central 
schools did not please him ; but he could not withhold his 
admiration from the Polytechnic School, the finest estab- 
lishment of education that was ever founded, but which 
be afterwards spoiled by giving it a military organisation. 
In only one college of Paris the old system of study was 
preserved : this was the Louis-le- Grand, which had received 
the name of Pritanee. The First Consul directed the 
Minister of the Interior to draw up a report on that estab- 
lishment ; and he himself went to pay an unexpected visit 
to the Pritanee, accompanied by M. Lebrun and Duroc. 
He remained there upwards of an hour, and in the evening 
he spoke to me with much interest on the subject of his 
visit. " Do you know, Bourrienne," said he, " that I have 
been performing the duties of professor?" — "You, Gen- 
eral I " — "Yes! and I did not acquit myself badly. I 
examined the pupils in the mathematical class ; and I 
recollected enough of my Bezout to make some demon- 
strations before them. I went everywhere, into the bed- 
rooms and the dining-room. I tasted the soup, which is 
better than we used to have at Brienne. I must devote 
serious attention to public education and the management 
of the colleges. The pupils must have a uniform. I 
observed some well and others ill dressed. That will not 
do. At college, above all places, there should be equalit}-. 
But I was much pleased with the pupils of the Prihiuue. 
I wish to know the names of those I examined, and I have 
desired Duroc to report them to nie. I will give them 
rewards ; that stimulates young people. I will provide 
for some of them." 


On this subject Bonaparte did not confine himself to 
an empty scheme. After consulting with the headmaster 
of the Pritanee, he granted pensions of 200 francs to 
seven or eight of the most distinguished pupils of the es- 
tablishment, and he placed three of them in the depart- 
ment of Foreign Affairs, under the title of diplomatic pu- 

What I have just said respecting the First Consul's 
visit to the Pritanee reminds me of a veiy extraordinary 
circumstance which arose out of it. Among the pupils at 
the Pritanee there vras a son of General IMiackzinski, who 
died fighting under the banners of the KepubHc. Young 
Miackzinski was then sixteen or seventeen years of age. 
He soon quitted the college, entered the army as a volun- 
teer, and was one of a corps reviewed by Bonaparte in the 
plain of Sablons. He was pointed out to the First Con- 
sul, who said to him, " I knew j'our father. Follow his 
example, and in six months you shall be an officer." Six 
mouths elapsed, and Miackzinski wrote to the First Con- 
sul, reminding him of his promise. No answer was re- 
turned, and the young man then wrote a second letter as 
follows : — 

You desired me to prove myself worthy of my father ; I have 
done so. You promised that I should be an officer in six months ; 
seven have elapsed since that promise was made. When you re- 
ceive tliis letter I shall be no more. I cannot live under a Govern- 
ment the head of which breaks his word. 

Poor Miackzinski kept his word but too faithfully. 
After writing the above letter to the First Consul he re- 
tired to his chamber and blew out his brains with a pis- 
tol. A few days after this tragical event Miackziuski's 
commission was transmitted to his corps, for Bonaparte 
had not forgotten him. A delay in the War Office had 

I This institution of diplomatic pupils was originally suggested by M. de Talley- 


caused the death of this promising young man. Bona- 
parte was much affected at the circumstance, and he said 
to me, " These Poles have such refined notions of honour. 
. . . Poor Sulkowski, I am sure, would have done the 

At the commencement of the Consulate it was gratify- 
ing to see how actively Bonaparte was seconded in the 
execution of plans for the social regeneration of France : 
all seemed animated with new life, and every one strove 
to do good as if it were a matter of competition. Every 
circumstance concurred to favour the good intentions of 
the First Consul. Vaccination, which, perhaps, has saved 
as many lives as war has sacrificed, was introduced into 
France by M. de Liancourt ; and Bonaparte, immediately 
appreciating the value of such a discovery, gave it his de- 
cided approbation. At the same time a council of Prizes 
was established, and the old members of the Constituent 
Assembly were invited to return to France. It was for 
their sake and that of the Royalists that the First Consul 
recalled them, but it was to please the Jacobins, whom 
he was endeavouring to conciliate, that their return was 
subject to restrictions. At first the invitation to return 
to France extended only to those who could prove that 
they had voted in favour of the abolition of nobility. The 
lists of emigrants were closed, and committees were ap- 
pointed to investigate their claims to tlie privilege of re- 

From the commencement of tlie month of Germinal the 
reorganisation of tlie army of Italy had proceeded with 
renewed activity. Tlio presoiice in Paris of the fine corps 
of the Consular Guard, added to the desire of showing 
themselves off in gay uniforms, had stiiuulatod the mili- 
tary anlour of many resjioctable young men of the ca[)it,al. 
Taking advantage of this circumstance tlie First Consul 
created a coqis of voluntcîors destined for the army of r«- 
•erve, which was to remain at Dijon, lie saw the udvau- 


tage of connecting a great number of families with hia 
cause, and imbuing them with the spirit of the army. 
This volunteer corps wore a yellow uniform which, in 
some of the salons of Paris where it was still the custom 
to ridicule everything, obtained for them the nickname of 
" canaries." Bonaparte, who did not always relish a joke, 
took this in very ill part, and often expressed to me his 
vexation at it. However, he was gratified to observe in 
the composition of this corps a first specimen of privileged 
soldiers ; an idea which he acted upon when he created 
the orderly gendarmes in the campaign of Jena, and when 
he organised the guards of honour after the disasters of 

In every action of his life Bonaparte had some particular 
object in view. I recollect his saying to me one day, 
" Bourrienne, I cannot yet venture to do anything against 
the regicides ; but I will let them see what I think of them. 
To-moiTOW I shall have some business with Abrial respect- 
ing the organisation of the court of Cassation. Target, 
who is the president of that court, would not defend Louis 
XVL Well, whom do you think I mean to appoint in his 
place? . . . Tronchet, who did defend the king. They 
may say what they please ; / care not." ' Tronchet was 

Nearly about the same time the First Consul, being in- 
formed of the escape of General Mack, said to me, "Mack 
may go where he pleases ; I am not afraid of him. But I 
will tell you what I have been thinking. There are some 
other Austrian officers who were prisoners with Mack ; 
among the number is a Count Dietrichstein, who belongs 
to a great family in Vienna. I will liberate them all. At 
the moment of opening a campaign this will have a good 
effect. They will see that I fear nothing ; and who knows 
but this may procure me some admirers in Austria." The 

1 On this, tis on many other occasions, the cj'nkism of Bonaparte's lang:uage doea 
cut admit of a literal translation. 


order for liberating the Austrian prisoners was immedi- 
ately despatched. Thus Bonaparte's acts of generosity, as 
well as his acts of severity and his choice of individuals, 
were all the result of deep calculation. 

This unvarying attention to the affairs of the Govern- 
ment was manifest in all he did. I have already mentioned 
the almost simultaneous suppression of the horrible com- 
memoration of the month of January, and the permission 
for the revival of the opera balls. A measure something 
similar to this was the authorisation of the festivals of 
Longchamps, which had been forgotten since the Revolu- 
tion. He at the same time gave permission for sacred 
music to be performed at the opera. Thus, while in 
public acts he maintained the observance of the Republican 
calendar, he was gradually reviving the old calendar by 
seasons of festivity. Shrove-Tuesday was marked by a 
ball, and Passion-week by promenades and concerts. 



A propos of Napoleon's handwriting, we are tempted to 
make an extract from a contemporary — the Saint Jafnes's 
Gazette of 19th January 1882 — of a notice of the Abbo 
Michon's work on this subject, which may be of interest 
to the reader. 

Francis I. of Austria said of liis son-in law after tlio Battle of 
Waterloo: "I always thought that man would end badly; he 
wrote such a villainous hand." And indeed it became so bad as to 
be almost wholly illegible. If read at all it is by guess, or that 
second sight which the "blind clerks" of the Dead Letter Office 
are popularly supposed to possess. Mucli of it is represented by 
blanks in the transcriptions, and there are many words at tlie 
translation of which by an expert the well-tried reader of manu- 
script can only shako a doubting head. But this waa not alwaja 


so. ^yhile lie was a subaltern of artillery his hand, although never 
good, was at least human and clear and legible. Tliere was a sort 
of correspondence between it and his simple direct bearing of those 
days, when he disdained personal appearance, and the long, flat, 
straight black hair partly hid and lengthened the sallow face, and 
everything about him was grave, rude, austere. He was not bom 
to a bad hand, although, like Lamartine, Byron, and many other 
great men, he could never learn to spell ; and after the 18th Bru- 
maire the laws of orthography incommoded him quite as little as 
any others. But no matter how bad his writing was, "La plume 
entre ses mains," as Lamartine wrote, "nous valut une épée." 

In a recent publication. LHistoire de Napoléon L d'après son 
Écriture,^'' the Abbé Jean-Hippolyte Michon, a graphologist, as he 
calls himself, makes an analysis of the Emperor's writing and 
character ; and a clever and interesting book it is, due allowance 
being made for the eccentricities and occasional wildness of the 
specialist and expert, which in themselves are often amusing. The 
Abbé maintains that it was the passionate vehemence of his nature 
and his impenetrable dissimulation that broke out in the furious 
illegibility of his writing and conquered the eailier habits of his 
pen, which still sometimes reappeared in the English exercises 
which he wrote at St. Helena with Las Cases. One of the most 
remarkable facts is that the change for the bad took place rapidly 
when the Corsican Captain Bonaparte of 1792, " who distinguished 
himself so much at the siege of Toulon," became the French 
General Bonaparte. Carlyle brought his Fb'eruh Revolution to a 
close with the " whiff of grapeshot " on the steps of St. Roch on 
the 13th Vendémiaire (5th October 1795); and it is, curiously 
enough, from General Bonaparte's skilfully garbled draft report of 
that day, when he really entered on the scene, that M. Michon 
first has occasion to demonstrate the complete graphic change. 
Thenceforward his writing altered but little. Comparing the manu- 
script of the Mémorùd de Snink Hélène with this draft report, it is 
evident at a glance that the general and the fallen emperor are one. 
But the primitive man, Bonaparte, has disappeared in both. 
Frankness has vanished ; letters become confused, lopped, strangely 
scamped, often replaced by formless scratches which are utterly 
illegible. The pen, says the Abbé, seems to swallow the words, 
wliich have to be divined. It is a hidden hand. This was a 
natural result, says this biographer, in an arch-conspirator against 
everything, wlio liad above all to rely upon profound dissimulation 
and absolute impenetrability. Men who can hold their tongues 
ghow this peculiarity in their writing ; for the writer is the slav» 


of the thinker. M. Michon has seen many mysterious hands; bnt 
the true Sphinx appears in Napoleon's alone, from the day when his 
comprehensive glance showed him the mastery of Europe and he 
began to combine those plans which astonished the world. Fine 
** gladiolate " strokes, which sometimes terminate almost every 
■word, indicate that marked finesse which, allied to his powers of 
concealment, made the complete diplomatist who shows himself in 
the tortuous, horribly serpentine, almost spiral lines of his writing, 
which Talleyrand, the king of negotiators, never surpassed. These 
accusing undulations betray his Italian nature, and recall the sinu- 
ous gliding of a snake through the grass, or trace darkly the under- 
ground, moleish, diplomatic ways. Sometimes they are so sudden 
as to resemble the doublings of a hare. 

Napoleon's passionate nature, to which his microscopic historian 
attributes many of his gigantic mistakes, always acted on first im- 
pressions when it broke through the habitual firm calm to which 
he ever tried to school himself. It is true it gave him tenfold 
force ; but liad his marvellous head always governed, he would 
have taken the logical course of the situation and become the 
Waghington of France. This mighty struggle of the head with the 
heart shaped the whole of his fateful history, and is shown to this 
student of his writing by the constant mixture of upright with 
sloping letters. In intimate connection with this sign is the ex- 
treme variability of the height of the letters, which indicates great 
mobility of impressions. " Tliis soul of fire was volatile as a flame.'* 
The faculty of thought was in continual fermentation. The im- 
agination soars with the long stroke of a d. 

But the volcanic portion of his character would have been con- 
trolled liad it not been for a partial organic lesion of the brain, 
which is tlie true key to the great dissonance of his acts. lie him- 
self said (but it was at St. Helena), " he goes mad who sleeps in a 
bed of kings;" and it was this cerebral aberration which, com- 
bining with liis lieadstrong passion, led him constantly to declare 
war within twenty four liours against the first comer; to divorce a 
wife he loved ; to j)ropoHe a kingdom of llayti to Louis XVIII. ; or 
to take a million of men into the Kteppt;s of Russia. (Jhûteaubriand 
said of the Napoleonic ideas, " syslôme d'un fou ou d'un enfant;" 
but the mental derang<'ment was made plainer to the .^obé by the 
apparently unconscious leaps and bounds of the imperial pen, and 
«specially by the strange abnormal form and excessive development 
of the letter /; in Napoleon's writing. Thci liistorian maintain.s that 
the writing of all the partially deranged which he lias examined 
exhibits some similar terrible sign, whicli ho calls " la petite bote." 


This "sign" generally consists of a nervons, disordered, unusual 
stroke, which falls fatally and spontaneously from the pen. Pascal, 
whose imagination was so out of gear that he always saw an abyss 
yawning at his side, and whose writing in his later years Napoleon's 
most resembles, used an extravagant and accusing g. 

The clear-headedness and precision of the General, whose whole 
art of war culminated in being the strongest at a particular point ' 
is shown by his often using a fresh paragraph for a fresh idea, and 
in the profusion of space and light between the lines, the words, 
and often between the letters of his earlier handwriting. But the 
intuition, the eagle eye which enabled him always to seize this 
point of concentration, is manifested by the frequent separation of 
the letters in his words. Like Mazarin, too, he runs several words 
together : a mark of the deductive logician, of the positive, practical 
man who tends rapidly and directly towards the realization of his 
aims. His strong will, his masterful and despotic nature, are de- 
noted by the forcible manner in which he crosses his t high up. 
Wonderful tenacity is shown by the "harpoons," or horizontal 
pot-hooks which terminate the last stroke of many words : they 
are, as it were, the claws of the eagle. A profusion of club-lik* 
strokes shows indomitable resolution and obstinacy, which may 
be seen to have been intractable by the implacable hardness and 
angular rigidity of the whole writing. The dash of meanness 
which was always present in the man who gave a name to " capo- 
ral " tobacco is shown in the little crooks which sometimes com- 
mence or terminate the letter m, and in his signature, which was 
not royal like that of Louis XIV. Until he became Emperor he 

> Almost all generals wish to be strong upon one, and that the decisive, point. 
Where good and bad generals usually differ is in selecting that point. Thus at the 
beginning of the lî-00 campaign both Melas and Napoleon wished to be strong on 
the decisive point, but Melas believed that point to be in front of him, while Napo- 
leon placed that point behind Melas, cutting him off from his base. At Marengo 
Napoleon nearly ruined himself by being doubtful where the decisive point was, 
and BO Bending off Dcsabc, while Melas ; wisely rushed at him. Putting the decisive 
point at Marengo, and, with most general.^, Melas would have won. Desaii' sense 
in returning before ordered saved the day. itany instances could be given, bu» 
this is a common Jiistake, as if any geueral wished to be weak. Wellington was 
not certiuin .bout the decisive point at Waterloo, and so kept part of his force use- 
less at Hal. wh.le no man wished more to be strong on one, and that the decisive, 
I>olnt. Generals often make themselves weak everywhere by posting troops every- 
where, in order they may concentrate in time to be strong on any point, but this is 
an error of calculation not of intention. The true selection of the decisive point is 
the mark of a good general, and if Napoleon had a specialty, it was rather a ten- 
dency to risk much and grasp at everything, than any special wish to b« strong oa 
one point. Sec Hamley, p. 143, for an example. 


always wrote his name Buona- or BonaParte, or abbreviated it BP. 
Afterwards he wrote NaPoUon or NP. 

The numerous facsimiles of signatures, monograms, and speci- 
mens of writing attach a special value to M. Michon's book, and 
thej are accompanied not alone by his own views but by those of 
the German "graphologist" Henze, One, from the Memorial^ 
looks, the Abbé says, as if the hand felt the grip of Hudson Lowe ; 
and there is much that is melancholy in another — the profoundly 
discouraged, utterly beaten, misspelt and indecipherable rough 
scrawl of his submission to the Prince Regent, written in the island 
of Aix on the 14th of July 1815. The next day he surrendered 
himself at Rochef ort to Captain Maitland of the Bdleropfwn. ' 

* A facsimile of the abdication of Bonaparte in 1814 will be found in the third 
volume of this work, and, like the note of his submission mentioned above, betrays 
manifest traces of the disagreeable nature of the task. 

We may, at the risk of irrelevance, perhaps quote a contrary instance in the case 
of one of Bonaparte's biographers : — Mr. Ruskin was on one occasion showing to a 
friend the original manuscripts of several of Scott's novels. "I think," he snid, 
taking down one of them, "that the most precious of all is this. It '\% Woodlitock . 
Scott was writing this book when the news of bis ruin came upon him. Do you see 
the beautiful handwriting? No\r look, as I turn towards the end. Is the writing 
one jot less beautiful? Or ar« ^gkq more erasures than before? That shows how 
% man can, and should b«ar adversity.'* 

413 180a 



The Memorial of St. Helena — Louis XVllI.'s first letter to Bonaparte— 
JoBephine, Hortense, and the Faubourg St. Germain — Madame Bona- 
parte and the fortune-teller — Louis XVIII. 's second letter— Bona- 
parte's answer — Conversation respecting the recall of Louis XVIIL — 
Peace and war — A battle fought with pins — Genoa and Melas — Real- 
isation of Bonaparte's military plans — Ironical letter to Berthier — De- 
parture from Paris — Instructions to Luceiu and Cambacôrès — Joseph 
Bonaparte appointed Councillor of State — Travelling conversation — 
Alexander and Cœsar judged by Bonaparte. 

It sometimes happens that an event which passes away 
unnoticed at the time of its occurrence acquires impor- 
tance from events which subsequently ensue. This re- 
flection naturally occurs to ray mind now that I am about 
to notice the correspondence which passed between Louis 
XVm and the First Consul. This is certainly not one 
of the least interesting passages in the life of Bonaparte. 

But I must first beg leave to make an observation on 
the Memorial of St. Helena. That publication relates what 
Bonaparte said respecting the negotiations between Louis 
XVm. and himself ; and I find it necessaiy to quote a 
few lines on the subject, in order to show how far- the 
statements contained in the Memorial dififer from the auto- 
graph letters in my possession. 

At St. Helena Napoleon said that he never thought of 
the princes of the House of Bourbon. This is true to a 
certain point. He did not think of the princes of the 
House of Bourbon with the view of restoring them to 
their throne ; but it has been shown, in several parts of 


these Memoirs, that he thought of them very often, and 
on more than one occasion their very names alarmed him.' 
The substance of the two letters given in the Memorial of 
St. Helena is correct. The ideas are nearly the same as 
those of the original letters. But it is not surprising that, 
after the lapse of so long an interval, Napoleon's memory 
should somewhat have failed him. However, it will not, I 
presume, be deemed unimportant if I present to the read- 
er literal copies of this correspondence, together with the 
explanation of some curious circumstances connected 
with it. 

The following is Louis XVIIL 's letter : — 

February 20, 1800. 
Sir — Whatever may be their apparent conduct, men like you 
never inspire alarm. You have accepted an eminent station, and I 
thank you for having done so. You know better than any one how 
much strength and power are requisite to secure the happiness of a 
great nation. Save France from her own violence, and you will 
fulfil the first wish of my heart. Restore her King to her, and 
future generations will bless your memory. You will always be too 
necessary to the State for me ever to be able to discharge, by im- 
portant appointments, the debt of my family and myself. 

(Signed) Louis. 

The First Consul was much agitated on the reception of 
this letter. Though he every day declared his determina- 
tion to have nothing to do with the Princes, yet he hesitated 
whether or no he should reply to this overture. The 

' Th.' Memorial states that " A letter was delivered to the First ConRil by L»- 
hruM, wJio received it from the Abbô de Monteequicu, the secret agent of the Bour- 
bons in PuriB." This letter which wuh very cautiouKly written, Haid ; — 

•' You are lonp delaying,' the rcKtoniUon of my throne. It is to be fearo<l you ar« 
HufTiiring favourable inonniit.-. to eHcapo. You cannot Rocure the happincsHuf Frano» 
wlth(jut me, and I can do nothing for France without you. Hasten, then, to name 
the oftlccn which you would chcKww fur your friends." 

The anHW«'r, NiijHjleon said, was as foIlowH ; — 

" I have receivctl your roy.d hi^hncKs' letter. I have always tjiken a lively inter* 
est in your mlsfortuneii, an<l those of your family. You must not think of npp«utw 
Jng in France ; you could only return hi-rc by trumpling over a hundred thouaand 
dead bo<lios. I ithall always \>f happy t<> do anythiuR that can alleviate your fata 
%nd help to buuiMh the rucullucLiuu of yuur uiisfurtuucH." — BourrlcHtie. 


numerous affairs which then occupied his mind favoured 
this hesitation. Josephine and Hortense conjured him to 
hold out hope to the King, as by so doing he would in no 
way pledge himself, and would gain time to ascertain 
whether he could not ultimately play a far greater part 
than that of Monk. Their entreaties became so urgent 
that he said to me, " These devils of women are mad ! 
The Faubourg St. Germain has turned their heads ! They 
make the Faubourg the guardian angel of the royalists ; 
but I care not ; I will have nothing to do with them." 

Madame Bonaparte said she was anxious he should adopt 
the step she proposed in order to banish from his mind all 
thought of making himself King. This idea always gave 
rise to a painful foreboding which she could never over- 

In the First Consul's numerous conversations with me 
ne discussed with admirable sagacity Louis XYIII.'s pro- 
position and its consequences. " The partisans of the 
Bourbons," said he, " are deceived if they suppose I am 
the man to play Monk's part." Here the matter rested, 
and the King's letter remained on the table. In the in- 
terim Louis XYill. wrote a second letter, without any date. 
It was as follows : — 

You must have long since been convinced, General, that you pos- 
sess my esteem. If you doubt my gratitude, fix your reward and 
mark out the fortune of your friends. As to my principles, I am a 
Frenchman, merciful by character, and also by the dictates of 

No, the victor of Lodi, Castiglione, and Areola, the conqueror of 
Italy and Egypt, cannot prefer vain celebrity to real glory. But 
you are losing precious time. We may ensure the glory of France. 

' A Htrong imprewion of the fate that Jiwaitcd her had been made on her mind 
dnring Bonaparte's almcnce in E^ypt. She, like many othrr hidies of Parifi, went at 
that timo to consult a oelebriiteci fortune- ttllcr, a Madame Villeneuve, who lived in 
the Rue do Lancry. This woman had reve.ilcd her dewtiny aH follows : '' You are," 
Baid Phe, " the wife of a great General, who will become Htill greater. Ho will cross 
the Hoae which separate him from you, and you will oocupy the ûrst fitation in 
France ; but it will be onJj for a short tAmc.''—Bourricnne. 


I say we, because I require the aid of Bonaparte, and he can do 
nothing without me. 

General, Europe observes you. Glory awaits you, and I am im- 
patient to restore peace to my people. (Signed) Louis. 

This dignified letter the First Consul suffered to remain 
unanswered for several weeks ; at length he proposed to 
dictate an answer to me. I observed, that as the King's 
letters were autographs, it would be more proper that he 
should write himself. He then wrote with his own hand 
the following : — 

Sm — I have received your letter, and I thank you for the com- 
pliments you address to me. 

You must not seek to return to France. To do so you must 
trample over a hundred thousand dead bodies. 

Sacrifice your interest to the repose and happiness of France, and 
history will render you justice. 

I am not insensible to the misfortunes of your family. I shall 
learn with pleasure, and shall willingly contribute to ensure, the 
'janquillity of your retirement. (Signed) Bonaparte. 

He showed me this letter, saying, " What do you think 
of it ? is it not good ? " He was never offended when I 
pointed out to him an error of grammar or style, and I 
therefore replied, *' As to the substance, if such be your 
resolution, I have nothing to say against it ; but," added I, 
*' I must make one observation on the style. You cannot 
say that ?/o?t ^hall learn with pleasure to ensure^ etc." On 
reading tlie passage over again he thought he had ])ledged 
himself too far in saying that he ivouhl wiUinglij contribute, 
etc. He therefore scored out the last sentence, and inter- 
lined, " I shall contribute with plcaaure to the happinciss and 
tranquillity of your retirement." 

Tlie answer thus scored and interlined could not be sent 
off, and it lay on the table with Bonaparte's signature 
affixed to it. 

Some time after he wrote anoi her answer, tlie three first 
paragraphs of which were exactly alike that finst quoted • 


but for the last paragraph he substituted the following : 
''lam not insensible to the misfortunes of your family ; and 
I shall learn with pleasure that you are surrounded ivith all 
that can contribute to the tranquillity of your retirement." 
By this means he did not pledge himself in any way, not 
even in words, for he himself made no offer of contrib- 
uting to the tranquillity of the retirement. Every day 
which augumented his power and consolidated his posi- 
tion diminished, he thought, the chances of the Bourbons ; 
and seven months were suffered to intervene between the 
date of the King's first letter and the answer of the First 
Consul, which was written on the 2d Vendémiaire, year 
IX. (24th September 1800) just when the Congress of 
Lunéville was on the point of opening. 

Some days after the receipt of Louis XVili.'s letter we 
were walking in the gardens of Malmaison ; he was in 
good humour, for everything was going on to his mind. 
*' Has my wife been saying anything more to you about 
the Bourbons?" said he. — " No, General." — "But when 
you converse with her you concur a little in her opinions. 
Tell me why you wish the Bourbons back ? You have no 
interest in their return, nothing to expect from them. 
Your family rank is not high enough to enable you to 
obtain any great post. You would be nothing under them. 
Through the patronage of M. de Chambonas you got the 
appointment of Secretary of Legation at Stuttgart ; but had 
it not been for the change you would have remained all your 
life in that or some inferior post. Did you ever know men 
rise by their own merit under kings? Everything de- 
pends on birth, connection, fortune, and intrigue. Judge 
things more accurately ; reflect more maturely on the 
future." — "General," replied I, "I am quite of your 
opinion on one point. I never received gift, place, or 
favour from the Bourbons ; and I have not the vanity to 
believe that I should ever have attained any important 
appointment. But you must not forget that my nomina- 


tion as Secretary of Legation at Stuttgart preceded the 
overthrow of the throne only by a few days ; and I cannot 
infer, from what took place under circumstances unfort- 
unately too certain, what might have happened in the 
reverse case. Besides, I am not actuated by personal 
feelings ; I consider not my own interests, but those of 
France. I wish you to hold the reins of government as 
long as you live ; but you have no children, and it is 
tolerably certain that you will have none by Josephine. 
What will become of us when you are gone ? You talk 
of the future ; but what will be the future fate of France ? 

I have often heard you say that your brothers are not " 

— "You are right," said he, abruptly interrupting me. 
" If I do not live thirty years to complete my w^ork you 
will have a long series of civil wars after my death. My 
brothers will not suit France ; you know what they are. 
A violent conflict will therefore arise among the most dis- 
tinguished generals, each of whom will think himself en- 
titled to succeed me." — "Well, General, why not take 
means to obviate the mischief you foresee ? " — "Do you 
imagine I do not think of it ? But look at the difficulties 
that stand in my way. How are so many acquired rights 
and material results to be secured against the efforts of a 
family restored to power, and returning with 80,000 emi- 
grants and the influence of fanaticism ? What would be- 
come of those who voted for the death of the King — the 
men who acted a conspicuous part in tlie Revolution — the 
national domains, and a multitude of things that have 
been done duruig twelve years? Can you see how far 
reaction would extend?" — "General, need I remind you 
that Lcjuis, in his letter, guarantees the contrary of all you 
apprehend ? I know what will bo yoiu* answer ; but are 
you not able to impose whatever conditions you may think 
fit? Grant what is asked of you only at that price. Take 
three or four years ; in tliat time you may ensure tlio 
happiness of France by institutions conformable to her 
Vol. I.-27 


wants. Custom and habit would give them a power which 
it would not be easy to destroy ; and even supposing such 
a design were entertained, it could not be accomplished. 
I have heard you say it is wished you should act the part 
of Monk ; but j^ou well know the difference between a 
general opposing the usurper of a crown, and one whom 
victory and peace have raised above the ruins of a sub- 
verted throne, and who restores it voluntarily to those 
who have long occupied it. You are well aware what you 

call ideology will not again be revived ; and " — '"I 

know what you are going to say ; but it all amounts to 
nothing. Depend upon it, the Bourbons will think they 
have reconquered their inheritance, and will dispose of it 
as they please. The most sacred pledges, the most posi- 
tive promises, will be violated. None but fools will trust 
them. My resolution is formed ; therefore let us say no 
more on the subject. But I know how these women 
torment you. Let them mind their knitting, and leave me 
to do what I think right." 

Every one knows the adage, Si vis pacem para helium. 
Had Bonaparte been a Latin scholar he would probably 
have reversed it and said, Si vis helium para pacem. 
While seeking to establish pacific relations with the 
powers of Europe the First Consul was preparing to strike 
a great blow in Italy. As long as Genoa held out, and 
Masséna continued there, Boiiapju'te did not despair of 
meeting the Austrians iu those fields which not four years 
before had been the scenes of his success. He resolved 
to assemble an army of reserve at Dijon. Where there 
was pre\'iously nothing he created everything. At that 
period of his life the fertility of his imagination and the 
vigour of his genius must have commanded the admira- 
tion of even his bitterest enemies. I was astonished at 
the details into which he entered. While every moment 
was engrossed by the most important occupations he sent 
24,000 francs to the hospital of Mont St Bernard. When 


he saw that his army of reserve was forming, and every- 
thing was going on to his liking, he said to me, " I hope 
to fall on the rear of Melas before he. is aware I am in 
Italy . . . that is to say, provided Genoa holds out. 
But lVL\ssiiiNA is defending it." 

On the 17th of March, in a moment of gaiety and good 
humour, he desired me to unroll Chauchard's great map 
of Italy. He lay down upon it, and desired me to do 
likewise. He then stuck into it pins, the heads of which 
were tipped with wax, some red and some black. I 
silently observed him, and awaited with no little curiosity 
the result of this plan of campaign. "When he had 
stationed the enemy's corps, and drawn up the pins with 
red heads on the points where he hoped to bring his own 
troops, he said to me, '' Where do you think I shall beat 
Melas?"— "How the devd should I know?"— "Why, 
look here, you fool ! Melas is at Alessandria with his 
headquarters. There he will remain until Genoa sur- 
renders. He has in Alessandria his magazines, his hos- 
pitals, his artillery, and his reserves. Crossing the Alps 
here (pointing to the Great Mont St. Bernard) I shall fall 
upon Melas, cut ofif his communications with Austria, and 
meet him here in the plains of Scrivia " (placing a red pin 
at San Giuliano). Finding that I looked on this manoeuvre 
of pins as mere pastime, he addressed to me some of his 
usual compliments, such as fool, ninny, etc., and then pro- 
ceeded to demonstrate his plans more clearly on the map. 
At the expiration of a quarter of an hour wo rose ; I folded 
up the map, and thought no more of the matter. 

Four months after this, when I was at San Giuliano 
with Bonaparte's portfolio and despatches, which I had 
saved from the rout which had taken place during the day, 
and when that very ovoning I was writing at Torre di 
G.difolo the bulletin of the battle to Napoleon's dictation, 
I frankly avowed my admiration of his military plans. 
Ho himself smiled at the accuracy of his own foresight. 


The First Consul was not satisfied with General Ber- 
tliier as War Minister, and he superseded him by Carnot/ 
who had given great proofs of firmness and integrity, but 
who, nevertheless, was no favourite of Bonaparte, on ac- 
count of his decided republican principles. Berthier was 
too slow in carrying out the measures ordered, and too 
slow in carrj'ing out the measures ordered, and too lenient 
in the payment of past charges and in new contracts. 
Carnot's appointment took j^lace on the 2d of April 1800 ; 
and to console Berthier, who, he knew, was more at home 
in tlie camp than in the office, he dictated to me the fol- 
lowing letter for him : — 

Paris, M Apnl 1800. 

Cittzen-Generat, — The military talents of wliich you have given 
80 many proofs, and the conlidence of the Government, call yon to 
the command of an ai-my. During the winter you have reorganised 
the War Department, and you have provided, as far as circum- 
stances would permit, for the wants of our armies. During the 
spring and summer it must be your task to lead our troops to vic- 
tory, which is the effectual means of obtaining peace and consolidat- 
ing the Republic. 

Bonaparte laughed heartily while he dictated this epistle, 
especially when he uttered the word which I have marked 
in italics. Berthier set out for Dijon, where he com- 
menced the formation of the army of reserve. 

The Consular Constitution did not empower the Fii*st 
Consul to command an army out of the territory of 
France. Bonaparte therefore wished to keep secret his 
long-projected plan of placing himself at the head of the 
army of Italy, which he then for the first time called the 
grand ai'my. I observed that by his choice of Berthier 

» There were special reasons for the appointment of Camot. Berthier was re- 
quired with his miXHter in Itnly, while Caniot, who had so long ruled the armies ol 
the Itepublic, wa.'^ hotter fitted to infhienco Moreim, at this time advancing into Ger- 
many. Camot probably fulfilled the main object of his appointment when he was 
sent to Moroan, ;ind Bucoeeiied in {fitting that general, with niitural reluctance, to 
damage his own campaii^n by dotnchiiig a large body of troops into Italy. Berthier 
was reappointed to the Ministry on the bth of October 1800,— a very speedy retura if 
Uo had really been disgraced. 


nobody could be deceived, because it must be evident tliat 
he would have made another selection had he not intended 
to command in person. He laughed at my observation. 

Our departure from Paris was fixed for the 6th of May, 
or, according to the repubhcan calendar, the 16th Floréal. 
Bonaparte had made all his arrangements and issued all 
his orders ; but still he did not wish it to be known that 
he was going to take the command of the army. On the 
eve of our departure, being in conference with the two 
other Consuls and the Ministers, he said to Lucien, "Pre- 
pare, to-morrow morning, a circular to the prefects, and 
you, Fouché, will publish it in the journals. Say I am 
gone to Dijon to inspect the army of reserve. You may 
add that I shall perhaps go as far as Geneva ; but you 
must affirm positively that I shall not be absent longer than 
a fortnight. You, Cambacérès, will preside to-morrow at 
the Council of State. In my absence you are the Head of 
the Government. State that my absence will be but of 
short duration, but specify nothing. Express my approba- 
tion of the Council of State ; it has already rendered great 
services, and I shall be happy to see it continue in the 
course it has hitherto pursued. Oh ! I had nearly for- 
gotten — you will at the same time announce that I have 
appointed Joseph a Councillor of State. Should anything 
happen I shall be back again like a thunderbolt. I re- 
commend to you all the great interests of France, and I 
trust that I shall shortly be talked of in Vienna and in 

We set out at two in the morning, taking the Burgundy 
road, which we had already so often travelled under very 
difTeront circumstances. 

On the journey Bonaparte conversed about the warrioi*3 
of antiquity, especially Alexander, CjDsar, Scipio, and Han- 
nibal. I asked liini which ho preferred, Alexander or 
Cœsar. " I place Alexander in the first rank," said lie, 
*' yet I admire Cicsar's tine campaign in Africa. But the 


ground of my preference for the King of Macedonia is the 
plan, and above all the execution, of his campaign in Asia. 
Only those who are utterly ignorant of war can blame 
Alexander for having spent seven months at the siege of 
Tyre. For my part, I would have stayed there seven years 
had it been necessary. This is a great subject of dispute ; 
but I look upon the siege of Tyre, the conquest of Egypt, 
and the journey to the Oasis of Ammon as a decided proof 
of the genius of that gi-eat captain. His object was to give 
the King of Persia (of whose force he had only beaten a 
feeble advance-guard at the Granicus and Issus) time to 
reassemble his troops, so that he might overthrow at a 
blow the colossus which he had as yet only shaken. By 
pursuing Darius into his states Alexander would have 
separated himself from his reinforcements, and would have 
met only scattered parties of troops who would have drawn 
him into deserts where his army would have been sacri- 
ficed. By persevering in the taking of Tyre he secured 
his communications with Greece, the country he loved as 
dearly as I love France, and in whose glory he placed his 
own. By taking possession of the rich province of Egj^pt 
he forced Darius to come to defend or deliver it, and in 
so doing to march half-way to meet him. By represent- 
ing himself as the son of Jupiter he worked upon the 
ardent feeUngs of the Orientals in a way that powerfully 
seconded his designs. Though he died at thh'ty-three 
what a name he has left behind him ! " 

Though an utter stranger to the noble profession of 
arms, yet I could admire Bonaparte's clever military plans 
and his shrewd remarks on the gi-eat captains of ancient 
and modern times. I could not refrain from saying, 
"General, you often reproach me for being no flatterer, 
but now I tell you plainly I admire you." And certainly 
I really spoke the true sentiments of my mind.